June 13, 2008 Now here’s an interesting solution to the problem of reducing emissions using the same fleet of cars we have, but by using different fuel. Airplanes need high octane fuel and the octane rating has until now been achieved by adding tetraethyl lead, but that will be outlawed from 2010. Ethanol achieves the same octane rating boost but is unsuitable for use in aircraft. To solve the riddle, the newly announced SwiftFuel© uses ethanol to produce a designer fuel with a 104 octane rating that has no ethanol in it. It runs fine in any existing plane (or car), and is a low emission, alternative made entirely from biomass that has 15-20% more energy per litre than petrol, so your plane (or car) will get better mpg too. And it costs half as much to make as current petroleum manufacturing cost, selling for $2 a gallon less than gasoline. What’s the catch?
No, we can’t see a catch.
Swift Enterprises’ new general aviation SwiftFuel© is less expensive, more fuel-efficient and significantly environmentally friendlier. Unlike current biomass fuels, SwiftFuel© is comprised of synthetic hydrocarbons derived from biomass yet meets or exceeds the standards for aviation fuel as verified by nationally recognized laboratories.
John Rusek, a professor in Purdue University's School of Astronautics and Aeronautics Engineering, and his wife Mary founded Swift Enterprises seven years ago at Purdue Research Park, Both John and Mary worked at Edwards Air Force Base in the mid80s, where they conducted research on rockets and rocket fuel for the government. Swift aims to use renewable resources to end the energy crisis. It works with hydrogen peroxide and other novel chemicals as new components in fuel cells and propellants. The scientists at Swift bring a combination of military, academic and private enterprise experience to the fundamental research and development of propulsion, ordnance and power technologies, and hardware.
"Our fuel should not be confused with first-generation bio-fuels like E-85, which don't compete well right now with petroleum,” Rusek said. "For general aviation aircraft, range is paramount. Not only can our fuel seamlessly replace the aviation industry's standard petroleum fuel, it can outperform it."
The general aviation industry each year uses nearly 570 million gallons of 100LL aviation fuel, which is toxic, increasingly expensive and non-renewable. In contrast, testing has shown SwiftFuel© is 15 percent to 20 percent more fuel efficient, has no sulfur emissions, requires no stabilizers; has a 30-degree lower freezing point, introduces no new carbon emissions, and is lead-free. In addition, the components of this fuel can be formulated into a replacement for jet/turbine fuels.
"The general aviation industry, both domestic and foreign, is demanding a solution to this dilemma," said Mary Rusek, Swift Enterprises' president. "Our new, patented technology can provide the 1.8 million gallons per day required by the industry in the U.S. by utilizing only 5 percent of this country's existing bio-fuel plant infrastructure."
Note: a wonderful article by Robert X. Cringely discussing SwiftFuel can be found here under the title, “It's the Platform, Stupid: Baby steps are the way to energy independence.”
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