Media Coverage

Trucking News Covers

Empire Hydrogen Fuel Enhancement System

MARCH 2017 Issue

Market demand for technologies that reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse (GHG) emissions is high. Such demand is driven, in part, by government intervention (requirements for reduced GHG emissions) but, unlike demand for other technologies that is a result solely of government intervention, the demand for fuel efficient technologies is also driven by owners of diesel powered equipment who have a strong desire to reduce their operating costs. GHG emissions are normally reduced when consumed fuel quantum is lowered so almost anything done to reduce fuel burn and lower diesel owners’ operating costs will also reduce GHG emissions and move the industry toward achievement of cleaner air standards required by treaties and legislation.

Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems (“Empire”) has developed new technology for the diesel and petrol engine powered equipment industries such as heavy transportation trucks, heavy industrial equipment, electrical power generators, railway locomotives and large marine vessels. Its new product, called the Fuel Enhancement System (FES), delivers improved combustion technology which significantly reduces fuel consumption by diesel or petrol engine powered internal combustion engine (ICE) equipment. Cleaner fuel burns result in less carbon in cylinders and in lower engine maintenance costs as well as reduced carbon footprints. The efficient combustion process reduces solid particle emissions and lowers diesel particulate filtering (DPF) costs. Owners can realize increased profits immediately upon installation of our FES technology.

The patented system comprises of a highly modular and scalable design, including an electrolysis cell assembly, electrolyte tank and an advanced engine control unit (ECU) driving a sophisticated and advanced electronics package. The complete system is mounted within a single enclosure for complete environment protection together with installation interface supports (to the truck chassis) enabling ease of installation for the User. In order to address a wide range of ICE capacities, the amount of on-demand hydrogen and oxygen gasses generated is scalable from a few liters/minute to much higher values. The system also incorporates a patented invention called the blowback preventer/dryer which serves both as a trap for any water vapor passing through the medium as well as a retardant for any potential blowback issues from the ICE itself. This now-dried hydrogen and oxygen gasses are then fed into the ICE through its air intake to the cylinders.

The ECU incorporates a number of interfaces to the ICE together with proprietary firmware and expert software for smart control functions together with (a) a data record capability for real-time tuning to a specific ICE (e.g. type, capacity, make, age, etc.); and, (b) a capability to transmit processed ICE performance data to remote Users in the presence of hydrogen and oxygen gasses as a function of a wide variety of truck and ICE parameters.

Wide ranging testing has taken place, including installations on User trucks as well as independent testing from an outside expert. Testing has included: vehicle and engine dynamometers; emissions testing; and, extensive and long-term User testing through driving a wide variety of truck routes and truck loadings. Through careful monitoring of fuel usage, emissions, ICE power increases, speed trials, the Empire FES technology has proven itself capable of delivering fuel savings of between 16 and 30% together with a reduction in GHG emissions enabling increased ICE power and cleaner cylinders.

In summary, this invention will put money into the pockets of ICE-powered equipment owners by saving them money. Its improved combustion technology (incorporated within the FES) significantly reduces fuel consumption in ICE. Cleaner fuel burns result in less carbon in cylinders and in lower engine maintenance costs. The efficient combustion process reduces solid particle emissions and lowers diesel particulate filtering (DPF) costs. Vehicle owners can realize increased profits immediately upon installation of this technology. This product is scalable in terms of the capacity of ICE that it can be used with. ICE capacities of 12-16Liter have been demonstrated with a system capability scalable to much higher ICE capacities (e.g., to 100Liter). This product has direct and proven application in ICE (e.g. in trucks, marine platforms, etc.) as well as in stationary installations such as generators.

For more information call 778.426.0911 or visit www.empirehydrogen.com.☚

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Sidney - Posted February 4, 2017

Penninsula News Item re Empire Hydrogen tour for Chamber of Commerce

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Green Party Leader May bullish on Sidney manufacturing company

by Steven Heywood - Peninsula News Review
Sidney - Posted November 11, 2016
MP Elizabeth May cuts the ribbon as Sidney company Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems and owner Sven Tjelta announced the expansion of a second production line for their innovative fuel enhancement system.

MP Elizabeth May cuts the ribbon as Sidney company Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems and owner Sven Tjelta announced the expansion of a second production line for their innovative fuel enhancement system.— image credit: Steven Heywood

When Elizabeth May heard about a company in her own backyard that had a product to make fuel burn more efficiently, she had to have a look.

On Wednesday, the Saanich-Gulf Islands MP and federal Green Party Leader cut the ribbon (it was green) on the expanded production capability of Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems. They manufacture and sell a unit that can inject hydrogen and oxygen into diesel fuel engines, making them burn more efficiently — thereby using less fuel.

May said she was impressed with the product’s ability to facilitate the burning of less fuel and therefore reducing carbon emissions.

Owner Sven Tjelta said the company — profiled in a PNR story last month — needs the MP’s help to promote their product to companies — especially bus lines — and help get the attention of markets via government ministers.

Company Vice-President Andrew Evans said Empire Hydrogen has been working on their product for six years and began marketing it last year. This month, he said, they were scheduled to ship out 25 units to a trucking company.

At approximately $10,000 a unit, that represents a good start for the Sidney company.

Evans said the fuel enhancement units have the potential to save trucking companies money spent on fuel and maintenance. They work by using distilled water and electricity to separate out the oxygen and hydrogen — which are injected into engines. It makes the fuel burn hotter, he explained, and pistons move faster, making the engines more efficient.

The result is engines that use 20 per cent less fuel, Evan continued, while emitting fewer pollutants.

“Business is booming,” added Tjelta.

As a result, Tjelta added they’ve been able to find new investors and raise approximately $3 million in private funding so far. He said they’ve made a second share offering recently, which is close to ending.

Tjelta said they hope their MP can help guide them to the right people — those interested in their technology.

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Sidney firm transforms hydrogen to fuel

Sidney - Posted October 12, 2016
Bill Kitchen, Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems Inc. photo

Bill Kitchen, senior electronics design technician at Sidney-based tech firm Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems Ltd., demonstrates a hydrogen-based fuel enhancement system.— image credit: Octavian Lacatusu/Black Press

Gathered around on a small industrial lot, dignitaries and investors looked at the latest stuff to spawn from Sidney’s industrial realm: hydrogen technology for internal combustion engines.

The company, known as Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems Inc., has worked for the last six years to develop the technology, which it plans to spread to thousands of long-haul trucks throughout Canada and Europe.

“It’s a fantastic industry that has not been looked at,” said company CEO Sven Tjelta, adding that the device, called a fuel enhancement system, works with the existing internal combustion engine to make it cleaner and more efficient.

In a nutshell, the system is simple. The unit, fitted to the truck’s chassis, gets topped up with water, where its main component (known as an electrolizer) breaks the water down to hydrogen and oxygen gas and feeds it through a hose into the engine. This, in turn, mixes with the fuel (diesel or gasoline) in the cylinders, allowing the engine to burn less fuel, and run cleaner. Once the gas is detonated in the cylinders, it gets converted back into water.

Tjelta noted the idea behind the hydrogen unit was to make internal combustion engines better, not create a hydrogen-only alternative.

“It mixes with the existing fuel, it’s not a substitute for fuel,” he said, adding that, depending on the application, users will see a 10 to 30 per cent increase in fuel efficiency after using the technology. The unit also “talks” to the vehicle’s engine computer, which controls the mixture of air and fuel in the cylinders.

Similar developments with hydrogen were made in the ’50s and ’60s, but Tjelta joked they weren’t as popular.

“I get emails from my investors that I need to be careful, because some of the previous inventors disappeared,” Tjelta laughed.

So far, 50 units are in use within the trucking industry, with more expected in the near future.

Each unit sells for $7,000 including installation, and does not void the truck’s manufacturer warranty, said Bill Kitchen, Empire’s senior electronics design technician.

Having no moving parts, Kitchen said the system is built to last for decades.

Still, don’t expect to see it in your Corolla anytime soon, as Empire is mostly looking at Class-A truck applications at the moment.

“You can shrink it, but that’s a lot more engineering,” Kitchen said. “Modern cars are incredibly filled up for space, so then you gotta work with the factories and incorporate it into the build and engineering of the car.”

He didn’t discount the idea of it working down the road though, as the company plans on experimenting with diesel locomotive engines, even a Boeing 737 jet.

For Sidney Mayor Steve Price, the technology not only helps pry open the door a bit more for Sidney’s tech sector, but also makes a difference in the cost of transportation.

“It could change the face of transportation, eliminate a huge per cent of the carbon footprint from various trucks… Sidney has many little companies like this that have gone on to do big things,” Price said. “To see what these guys have accomplished in the last two years is just astounding.”

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Victoria firm seeks capital to rev up sales of fuel-enhancement system

ANDREW DUFFY / TIMES COLONIST - October 8, 2016
Sven Tjelta, CEO Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems Inc.

Empire chief executive Sven Tjelta: "When you are doing things like this, everything revolves around money."
Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

A Victoria firm is hoping an infusion of capital and increased production of its fuel-enhancement system will help it to win the approval of long-haul truckers.

The company, which raised more than $2 million to increase production capacity of the device at its Sidney facility, is hoping further investment of as much as $44 million will help it develop technology, spread the word and increase sales around the world.

“When you are doing things like this, everything revolves around money,” Empire chief executive Sven Tjelta said.

Empire has designed a system that it says will, when connected to an engine, clean the air, reduce fuel costs and improve engine wear.
The system, which targets large trucks and generators, separates hydrogen and oxygen from distilled water and injects the elements into an engine’s air intake. This makes the fuel burn faster, more completely and more cleanly.

Tjelta said it also means a healthier bottom line for drivers and fleet owners through fuel savings and reduced servicing costs.

While Empire’s tests have suggested mileage can be extended by as much as 29 per cent, this kind of technology add-on is not a no-brainer for truckers.

“People who have bought this equipment love it. But because of the history that this kind of technology has with truckers, they are skeptical,” Tjelta said. “All the trucking industry has been burnt by people promising huge savings by putting tablets in a tank and all types of things.”

Tjelta said the firm hopes its under-promise-over-deliver style will win truckers over.

“If a trucker can save 1.5 per cent in fuel savings, they will exchange the engine. But without exchanging engines, we put this system on and we can give them a five to 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency,” he said.

That promise — and the demonstration of 50 units currently on the road — has won Empire enough support and investment to expand its facility.
A year ago, the company had the capacity to produce about 200 of the systems annually. It is now able to complete 3,000 units a year and has established sales centres in Vancouver and Norway.

Tjelta said Empire might consider manufacturing in Norway as well.
Empire also has developed technology that allows a truck’s on-board computer to interface with the fuel system to maximize energy efficiency, and it is developing a means to monitor a truck’s performance in real time via a smartphone.

The company is still casting around for partners to sell and install its system in Victoria and Nanaimo.

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Sidney firm Empire aims for clean, efficient engines

ANDREW DUFFY / TIMES COLONIST - February 3, 2015
Sven Tjelta - Times Colonist photo

Empire Energy owner Sven Tjelta with hydrogen production units at the company's manufacturing facility in Sidney.
Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist

Empire Hydrogen Energy Systems hopes to raise $2.5 million to step up production of a fuel-enhancement system designed to clean the air, reduce fuel costs and improve engine wear.

The company, located in a Sidney industrial park, has created a self-contained system that separates hydrogen and oxygen from distilled water and injects the elements into an engine’s air intake, making the fuel burn faster, more completely and therefore more cleanly.

The result, according to Empire general manager Ian Elliott, is a system that will keep more money in a truck operator’s wallet through fuel savings and reduced servicing and keep emissions to a minimum.

“There are a whole series of benefits that have been revealed through alpha and beta testing and the reports back from the field have been promising,” said Elliott.

Elliott said the system extends mileage (their tests show by 20 per cent), leaves fewer engine deposits and reduces emissions because it burns fuel cleaner and completely.

“And in diesel engines, our product will reduce the load on diesel particulate filters,” he said, noting that means lower emissions in those vehicles and a burn that‘s better for the truck.

That’s one of the reasons Mack Trucks’ Vancouver Island division partnered with Empire. Mack now sells and installs the hydrogen system to its clients.

“When diesel is burned, it’s not all burned and particulates are trapped in a filter,” said Dan Sarauer, branch manager for Mack Trucks in Victoria.

Sarauer said that filter can fill till it clogs and the truck’s computer will then de-rate the truck, shutting it down.

“Then you’re sidelined. In this system, the hydrogen injected in the cylinder burns [fuel] 1,000 times faster than diesel, so there are very few particulates,” Sarauer said, noting that means fewer emissions and a problem-free filter. “It can really help our trucks.”

Sarauer said it’s about managing downtime. “If a truck is not out there spinning wheels and generating revenue, that’s a real concern.”

He said the fuel economy equation could make the system a no-brainer. “An improved fuel economy of 15-20 per cent, for a trucker that’s the difference between going out of business or not, the margins are so tight.”

Sven Tjelta, chairman of Empire’s board, said the typical long-haul trucker will spend between $10,000 and $15,000 a month on fuel, and if they only save 10 per cent in fuel costs they are looking at substantial savings and being able to pay off the $6,500 Empire unit cost in about six months.

Elliott also noted that in remote camps, where fuel has to be helicoptered in and can cost $6 to $7 a litre, the system can have a profound economic impact.

About 20 of the systems, sold installed for $6,500, are on the road, most of them on large transport vehicles.

“There are 17 million trucks in North America, and our market is .01 per cent of that,” said Tjelta. He added they have had a lot of interest from European and Scandinavian fleet operators as well as those closer to home. “Carlsberg beer, for example, has 1,000 trucks and they want to try our units,” said Tjelta. “ We need working capital to build the units.”

Tjelta said the company was on the horns of a dilemma. Does it hit the road trying to drum up sales or does it raise money to build units so when the sales come the units are ready?

Right now the firm can produce one unit per day — or about 200 a year — using a staff of four.

The plan is to ramp up production to five units per day when they add new staff and expand their workspace in the existing building.

The other markets are massive industrial trucks used in mining operations and standalone generators used in remote communities.