Optimus Technologies in Garfield has had its head under the hood of a few trucks for the last five years, tinkering and fine-tuning its biofuel conversion system.

That work is about to pay off with the launch of its field-tested biofuel conversion system. With approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within sight, Optimus has announced the rollout of the Optimus Vector System for medium and heavy-duty fleets in the region and beyond.

Optimus put the system to the test during field trials this past winter on the hardest working workhorses in the City of Pittsburgh’s fleet—the snow plows.  The system proved incredibly robust, having survived one of the harshest winters in history.

“We were very fortunate to have had a demanding winter because it put our system through the wringer, says Colin Huwyler, CEO and founder of Optimus.

Trucks, buses and municipal vehicles have been converted from diesel fuel to biofuel using the company’s Optimus Vector System. The system reduced overall fuel costs of up to 25% and cut emissions up to 80%, meeting fuel mandates better than other alternative fuels like compressed natural gas, says Huwyler.

The system uses diesel briefly to start and heat the biofuel, then switches over to biofuel. The system will save the city significantly in in energy costs with the potential for payback within one year on the $9,000 system.

Once EPA approval is received, Optimus will scale up nationally and globally, Huwyler says. An important partnership will be announced in the near future.

“Through that process we’ve gotten real world feedback on design improvements to make it market-ready. The data is overwhelmingly positive.”

The city and several companies in the region have their own dedicated biofuel station. From three to five biofuel stations should be commercially available in the next year.

Optimus was founded in 2010. The company is hiring.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...