This Entrepreneur's Nanoparticle-Based Fuel Additive Could Help Make Gasoline Cars as Environmentally Friendly as Electric Ones
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Kirill Gichunts is an investor and entrepreneur, who has mentored and been a part of more than 15 companies and helped achieve two exits. Today, he's the co-founder and CEO of FuelGems. He sat down with JessicaAbo to discuss his cutting-edge nanoparticle-based fuel additive is disrupting the $3.5 trillion fuel market by making gasoline, and diesel, cleaner, safer and more efficient.
Kirill Gichunts: When I was undergoing my undergrad studies at U.C. Berkeley, I looked at various business areas, and I decided that there's no better thing to do than to help the environment through clean tech projects and make money at the same time. This is the direction of business that I chose, and I worked after that to get to where I'm at today.
What problem were you trying to solve when you started FuelGems?
Air pollution is a big problem, and fuel is inefficient and expensive. There are estimates that 5 to 10 million of people die annually from air pollution, and it's a big problem. We saw an opportunity to make fuel, gasoline and diesel much cleaner and much more efficient. And we've been working with a team of Ph.D. scientists to actually improve fuel and make it much cleaner through a very innovative technology.
Can you tell us a little bit about your technology?
We developed a new application of a unique nanoparticle and we developed a proprietary production method which produces these nanoparticles. It's actually a complex reactor with its own software, hardware, its own plasma, which produces the nanoparticles. We use various chemical approaches to treat these nanoparticles to dissolve very efficiently in a fuel. And so, 1 gram to 5 grams of these nanoparticles, which are safe, is needed to treat one ton or 264 gallons of fuel. They provide fuel savings and anti-friction benefits. They reduce dangerous emissions by up to 50% and they reduce CO2 by up to 9%.
What’s exciting about our technology is that it is safe, affordable and easy to add to fuel which would make it easy for the world's 700 refineries to incorporate in fuel. This has powerful ramifications, because FuelGems has the potential to improve all the fuel in the world quickly and save hundreds of thousands of lives through cleaner air and save billions of dollars by making fuel more efficient.
What do you think are some steps we can be taking to improve the environment?
There's no single solution to reduce CO2 and to reduce pollution. I think everybody can utilize the various different technologies. These range from putting solar panels on a roof to electric cars, which are not as clean as they are made out to be because electric cars are powered by the grid, and the grid gets 60% of the electricity from coal and natural gas. So, our technology actually makes gasoline cars almost as clean as electric cars.
People should utilize various technologies out there to improve their environment. Going into the future, the more pollution there is, the more clean technologies people should utilize, and this would benefit everyone greatly.