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  • Scott Fenwick

Optimus Technologies and the Era of B100

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Photo: Optimus Technologies

After raising nearly $18 million in funding, the company is prepared to accelerate its mission to decarbonize heavy-duty transportation.

Clean Fuels Alliance America uses the slogan “Better. Cleaner. Now!” because there is urgency in the mission. Removing a pound of carbon from the atmosphere today is worth more than removing a pound of carbon from the atmosphere a year from now—and certainly 10 or 20 years from now. Carbon emissions in the atmosphere are cumulative, and time is a multiplier for many of the problems created by greenhouse gases, whether global warming or, on a more personal level, health problems such as increased instances of severe asthma.

Recently, Optimus Technologies raised $17.8 million to decarbonize the transportation industry through a Series A funding round led by Mitsui & Co. out of Tokyo, Japan. The round included participation from one of North America’s largest commercial fleets, along with Chevron Renewable Energy Group and several regional investors. This funding may help kickstart a new era for biodiesel and carbon reduction by improving options for fleets that are serious about reducing their carbon footprints now instead of waiting for developing technologies that are years or decades away from deployment.

The capital raised will fund the further development and deployment of Optimus’ Vector System, an advanced fuel-system technology that enables heavy-duty diesel engines to operate on 100 percent biodiesel (B100), a biogenic near zero-carbon fuel. The Vector System seamlessly integrates into existing engines in operation or can be built into new engines as they are manufactured, leveraging the foundational diesel engine for the transition to a low-carbon future.

“This strategic investment allows us to accelerate our mission to decarbonize the transportation sector,” said Colin Huwyler, founder and CEO of Optimus Technologies. “More importantly, this funding enables Optimus to immediately scale the delivery of carbon reductions at a time when eliminating emissions can’t come soon enough.”

Heavy-duty transportation sectors are extremely challenging and costly to deploy with electric or hydrogen solutions, which require total replacement of existing assets, buildout of completely new infrastructure, and a fundamental shift in global energy production to renewables.

Biodiesel is an immediate solution and the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to meet scopes 1 and 3 emissions goals set by corporations and governments. The vast majority of diesel vehicles already support the use of B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, without any modifications required to make a meaningful reduction in emissions. However, the Optimus Vector System essentially multiplies that reduction by five by allowing vehicles to switch from B20 to B100.

The city fleet of Madison, Wisconsin, which in a February report made its case as the top fleet in North America, was an early adopter of Optimus’ Vector System. The city has seen substantial environmental benefits from using biodiesel without increasing the maintenance or downtime of vehicles, despite the cold environment. The fleet is approaching 8 million pounds of total carbon-dioxide reduction since 2018, and biodiesel is responsible for about 90 percent of that reduction, according to Mahanth Joishy, fleet superintendent.

“To convert the entire fleet to electric is going to take decades,” Joishy said. “Trucks are not going away. Construction equipment is not going away. These are here to stay, but we can operate them in a better way, in a cleaner way.”

Since 2018, Optimus has accumulated millions of miles of successful operation of its technology in numerous public fleets such as Madison and Washington, D.C., as well as in major commercial fleets, including that of Archer Daniels Midland.

Optimus’ unique approach to reducing carbon emissions is applicable across a wide range of industries from long-haul trucking to maritime and rail. The Vector System enables customers to reduce their carbon emissions today by more than 90 percent with a cost-effective solution that leverages existing assets and infrastructure. With this funding, Optimus will expand its team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ramp up production of the Vector System to help meet the ever-increasing global decarbonization demands of fleets and governments.

The biodiesel industry is a mature industry now, having provided reliable, high-quality fuel for decades, but it’s still an industry capable of tremendous breakthroughs. The new round of funding for Optimus Technologies has the potential to dramatically increase the adoption of B100 and make the dream of a low-carbon future for fleets across the world a reality.

Author: Scott Fenwick

Technical Director

Clean Fuels Alliance America




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