Clean Engines International blends social altruism with profits

By: Steve Wednesday October 31, 2012 0 comments Tags: Bill Kramer, Editorially Speaking, EnviroFit, Steve Porter

Bill Kramer, president and CEO of Clean Engines International, is an entrepreneur who sees an opportunity to address a serious global environmental problem while tapping into a potential market of millions of customers to enrich his company's bottom line.

CEI sells and distributes retrofit kits for dirty, gas-guzzling, emissions-spewing engines powering the motorcycles and taxi trikes operated by taxi drivers throughout Asia, Africa and other places in the developing world.

It's a mission once taken on by Envirofit International, a spinoff company from CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. When Envirofit shut down its engine retrofitting business to focus on environmentally friendly cookstoves and lighting products, Kramer and former Envirofit principal David Williams decided to take up where Envirofit left off.

Kramer said the need to clean the polluted air of cities in the developing world remains a thorny problem.

"Better than half the world breathes crap, and it's killing them and it's impacting economic capacity," Kramer told "This is an unaddressed problem we're trying to do something about."

Kramer and CEI are taking up the challenge to help make the world a healthier place while also turning a profit.

With help from local microfinance institutions, taxi drivers are able to obtain financing for their retrofit kits and pay off their loans within a year. At the same time, they're saving money on their fuel costs, bringing home more of their earnings, cleaning the air and making their home cities healthier for themselves and their children.

Kramer and CEI are taking a technology that's either impossible to find locally or too expensive and making it available to people who need it.

Kramer acknowledges that altruism is part of his company's mission, but he's also intent on making sure CEI is  a profitable venture.

"We went into business as a social benefit, for-profit company," he said. "There's a certain altruistic motivation here, but I'm a private sector guy. Solving social problems creates business opportunities."

Finding out what the market needs and filling that need is the basic foundation of business.

We find CEI's business model a win-win for all.




About the Author: Steve