In April, Los Angeles-based serial entrepreneur Daniel Mitchell successfully raised $650,000 in crowdfunding investment for his startup addvantage USA, a company that helps reduce vehicle emissions by increasing the efficiency of diesel engines. addvantage used crowdfunding rather than opting for venture capital, as the startup believes it could be a way of putting the word out in the market and in creating attention to their proposition.
“This a product that was invented in the U.K., and has been used across Europe for over a decade. I came into the project about three years ago; it was brought to me since I’m a successful businessman with a history of founding and selling three companies. I was presented with the opportunity to acquire the license for North America which now happens to be my area of responsibility,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell explained that the U.S. transportation industry produces 16 million metric tonnes of nitrous oxide (NOx), and that addvantage can help reduce emissions as it has done in Europe. The technology involves injecting liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in small precise amounts into the intake air of the truck engine, enhancing combustion and improving the efficiency of the fuel burn.
Emissions Analytics, a leading independent global testing agency for real-world emissions and fuel consumption analytics, worked with addvantage to verify through a series of independent tests, if the technology actually did improve the efficiency of fuel consumption and reduce emissions as described. The results showed that the company could reduce diesel consumption by 15 percent and decrease NOx emissions by 15 percent.
The startup has now partnered with T.T. Electronics, an electronics component manufacturer for the automotive industry, to commercially manufacture the product at its facility at Perry, Ohio. addvantage is now providing free demonstrations for interested fleets, and the device can be installed in four hours. Addvantage claims that the return on investment for such a device only takes about a week.
addvantage’s unique selling proposition lies in the way it optimizes the quantity of LPG that is mixed with the intake air. The system draws telematics data coming from a truck’s electronic controls to estimate the exact amount of LPG needed for every engine fuel cycle – a number that is calibrated autonomously by the technology based on the condition of the truck’s engine.
addvantage has put together an experienced team, including Paul Will, former CEO of Celedon, as the startup’s executive vice president of business development. “Paul is intimately familiar with how large fleets operate and the challenges they have with driving efficiency. We now have fleets that own over 60,000 trucks in total, that are interested in testing our technology,” said Mitchell.
That said, Mitchell spoke about the company’s push towards getting in touch with fleets that were keen to be early adopters of the new technology. “For us, it was about finding fleets that were interested in partnering with us, rather than about their geographic presence across the U.S.,” said Mitchell. “We now have a number of fleets that are committed to, at the very least, trialing with a view to acquiring the product if it is successful.”
Mitchell concluded by stating that addvantage could help the transport industry with improved fuel efficiency and thus the profit margins of fleets, which he observed to be stretched thin at the moment. “There are four million Class 8 trucks on the road in the U.S., and there’s the constant pressure to reduce emissions. The combination of increasing margins and reducing NOx emissions is what makes addvantage an attractive solution for the industry,” he said.