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FuelGems Founder Kirill Gichunts Wants to Revolutionize Fuel

Introduction

Vehicles that require gasoline produce a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, greenhouse gas emissions are a major driver of climate change as well as other serious environmental and health issues. Electric vehicle adoption is a solution, but it will take time for this new form of vehicle to fully saturate the market. 

FuelGems is doing its part with the invention of a potentially revolutionary nanotechnology fuel additive. Adding a very small amount of FuelGems nanoparticles to gasoline can reduce fuel consumption and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50%. We reached out to company founder and CEO Kirill Gichunts to learn why FuelGems will get environmental results faster than electric vehicle adoption.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Yasmin Sharbaf

In your own words, how would you describe FuelGems?

Kirill Gichunts

We invented and are now manufacturing a nanotechnology-driven fuel additive that will make gasoline and diesel much cleaner and more efficient. Our environmentally friendly nanoparticles are used in proportion of one gram to 265 gallons of fuel, making this one of the most powerful fuel additives ever. It also uses up to 800 less active ingredients than other additives. 

While formal trials showed 9% fuel savings, we recently achieved 30% fuel savings during quality testing of the fuel additive batches we recently produced. The reduction in fuel usage means reduction in CO2. The fuel additive also reduces dangerous emissions by 49.5%, lubricates fuel, and keeps it fresh. While most fuel additives handle narrow areas of gasoline or diesel, FuelGems improves multiple areas and can be used for diesel and gasoline both.  

The most important point that’s often overlooked is that the additive can be added at the refinery level. With 700 refineries out there, winning some of this market means very quick and massive penetration of the $3.5 trillion fuel market.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Kirill Gichunts

I am a cleantech guy and support various technologies that make this world cleaner. We need a solution to make dirty gasoline and diesel cleaner today and not wait decades for electric vehicles (EVs), which ultimately will likely not replace ships, trains, and airplanes. Can EVs replace 100% of cars? What will be done with the remaining fuel cars? With everything that’s going on with the environment and climate, we need solutions that can be applied on a wide scale today.

While EVs are great, they will take decades to replace fuel cars. The grid and electricity production (which needs to be 100% clean) needs to almost double to accommodate EVs — no easy feat — and 60% of all electricity production is from coal and methane. Even if 80% of cars are replaced by EVs by 2050, there will be 20% fuel cars, ships, trains, heavy machinery, and generators.  

The $3.5 trillion fuel market might shrink to $1 trillion, and $1 trillion worth of fuel needs to be clean. FuelGems is a solution today and well after 2050.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Kirill Gichunts

I founded a nanotechnology cleantech project in 2012, and since then I’ve networked with many scientists. At one time, I met exceptional scientists with incredible ideas, and we came together to bring this project to life.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How is FuelGems transforming the fuel additives industry?

Kirill Gichunts

FuelGems is simply the most powerful additive, and there is a good chance this additive will propel FuelGems to become a billion-dollar company. We plan to lobby countries to mandate the use of FuelGems. Imagine if the USA government mandates all fuel sold to use FuelGems?  

We are in the pilot and pre-pilot phase with some of the biggest oil and gas companies out there as well as other top corporations. We have interest from counties and have inquiries from distributors in several countries. 

Our additive can be added at the refinery level. There are 700 refineries that supply $3.5 trillion worth of fuel. Just imagine if FuelGems supplies its product to half of the market. It would be enormous revenue and a substantial reduction in CO2 and dangerous emissions world-wide.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Kirill Gichunts

There are three key categories of additives: additive to make gasoline burn cleaner, additive to make diesel burn cleaner, and everything else. Ethanol, the first category, replaced methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) to make gasoline burn cleaner. Diesel exhaust fluid helps diesel burn cleaner. And then there’s everything else, including lubricants, detergents, and preservatives). FuelGems has unparalleled universal performance across fuels with multiple effects. FuelGems makes gasoline, diesel, and ethanol more efficient while keeping fuel fresher and increasing lubrication. Our product falls in the first category, the second category, and parts of the third category. Excellent broad performance for huge potential.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How does FuelGems plan to adapt to the rising shift to electrical vehicles (EVs)?

Kirill Gichunts

The point is to make the air cleaner now, not wait and breathe all the junk and poisons and have greenhouse gasses warm the planet from gasoline and diesel for decades as EVs penetrate the market. And EVs likely will not fully penetrate 100% of the market. When will the majority of people in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East buy electric cars? Not any time soon. What about ships, trains, trucks, airplanes, and generators? Fuel for transportation is a $3.5 trillion market. Let’s say EVs shrink the gasoline and diesel market to $1 trillion by 2050. Don’t you want these $1 trillion worth of liters — as well as all the fuel burnt until then — to release much less pollutants and greenhouse gasses? The point of FuelGems is to make the enormous fuel segment, whether $3.5 trillion now or $1 trillion 30 years from today, cleaner for the next century, all while generating revenue.  

On a side note, for EVs to be truly clean worldwide, 100% of electricity needs to come from clean sources. Today, about 60% of electricity comes from methane and coal. And here is the bigger challenge: transportation uses enormous amounts of energy, so in order to switch to 100% EVs, electricity production capacity needs to almost double. Unfortunately, this will not happen any time soon. I believe multiple technologies need to be utilized today to reduce pollution and greenhouse gasses. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

How has your company grown since your last crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder?

Kirill Gichunts

We built a manufacturing facility, started to manufacture the fuel additive, and quality tested it with excellent results. We were able to attract some amazing additional clients (very big companies). Our overall prospective client base grew 16x, and distributors from several countries contacted us to distribute FuelGems. Once we secure several contracts, we believe FuelGems’ valuation will increase 5x to 25x in due time. In other words, if we need to build a large manufacturing facility which requires $50 million and venture capitalists (VCs) take 20% of the company, this means that our-post money valuation will be $270 million. We are constantly increasing our investors’ returns.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Kirill Gichunts

The funding will be used to increase growth. We plan to increase our client base, grow revenue, increase operations, and file patents. We are focused 100% on getting to $1 million revenue.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Kirill Gichunts

While there are some risks, the upside of FuelGems is just enormous. We were approached by a buyer (who was considering buying FuelGems) with whom we are discussing partnering up. We believe this means excellent prospects for the future. We were also approached by companies to get this additive used by countries.

Yasmin Sharbaf

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Kirill Gichunts

FuelGems could be acquired or have an initial public offering with a valuation above $1 billion. I want FuelGems to be used in fuel worldwide. Our VC told us to aim at a more than $300 million exit. There are exciting times ahead. Join us!

We look forward to seeing where Kirill and his team take the company. FuelGems is currently raising on StartEngine.

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About: Yasmin Sharbaf

Yasmin is passionate about the intersection of business, art, and science. Prior to KingsCrowd, Yasmin worked on a cryptocurrency investing research project for Wellesley College Investment Office where she assessed the risks and rewards for university endowment investment into cryptocurrency. She has also previously worked in a neuroscience lab studying language and memory of songbirds. Yasmin’s dream is to make investing and financial education accessible to everyone. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys going on adventures, learning new languages, and exploring different cultures. Yasmin studied Neuroscience and Studio Art at Wellesley College.

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