(8/23, Bill Garvey, Aviationweek) FAA has conducted another round of tests on an alternative fuel to leaded avgas, a new fuel which the developers said today is not only cleaner, but delivers more energy.The fuel, produced by Swift Enterprises Ltd., is made of pure hydrocarbons and can be derived from biomass, natural gas or even oil, according to Swift co-founder Mary-Louise Rusek, and is thus both renewable and sustainable. She said the FAA testing in a Lycoming IO-540 and other piston engines had demonstrated the fuel has an octane equivalent of 102. General aviation engine and airframe manufacturers have expressed a keen interest in the new Swift fuel, among others, since it promises to obviate the need for the tetra-ethyl-lead added to avgas to prevent knocking in high-performance piston engines. The general aviation fleet of light aircraft is now the nation’s largest consumer of leaded fuel, an unwelcome distinction. Swift is in discussion with outside firms about the possibility of producing the new fuel commercially.
Tests Show Alternative [Swift] Fuel Delivers 102 Octane 100LL.
(8/26, Flying eNewsletter) Last week, FAA tests demonstrated that a 100 low lead (100LL) alternative from Swift Enterprises can deliver the equivalent of 102 octane. The fuel is made of pure hydrocarbons and can be manufactured using biomass, natural gas or petroleum raw materials, making the new fuel substitute both clean and sustainable. According to Swift co-founder Louise Rusek, the FAA tested the Swift fuel in a Lycoming IO-540K, among other piston engines, and it developed the 100-plus octane rating that higher-power engines need to operate without knocking. The tests did reveal that the 300-hp Lycoming had no problems starting when hot, but was more reluctant to light off when cold. Other proposed 100LL replacements have shown octane ratings of up to 94 — sufficient for a large percentage of the piston engines in the general aviation fleet. But owners and operators of aircraft with higher power engines (that could operate at 94 octane only at reduced power settings) have protested, maintaining that their aircraft fly more hours than lower-horsepower models. They contend that any replacement for 100LL must serve the entire GA fleet, and that the FAA must take a leadership role in deciding on the imminent replacement fuel.
Turn the heat O-F-F!
Last edited by Cubdriver; 08-26-2010 at 06:39 AM.
Reason: added clips
Advertising above will not show if you are a registered user.
I don't know of any other consumption segment that still uses leaded gas. All the other segments have been through numerous evolutions and hence have left lead behind since the no-lead law began in the mid 70's.
FAA’s Hughes Center Adds Piper Twin for Fuel Testing
(D. Namowitz, AOPA Online 10/21) Properties of avgas formulas are evaluated using ASTM International's standard test procedures in this laboratory at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center. When the FAA’s NextGen Alternative Aviation Fuels Program, led by Dave Atwood, FAA program manager for fuels research at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, examines how unleaded fuel formulas measure up to the performance of 100LL, much of the testing takes place in the center’s New Jersey laboratories. But you also need in-flight data, and that’s Armando Gaetano’s department. He manages the FAA’s R&D flight test program. When Atwood’s team completes the test-cell-based testing regimen for the avgas substitutes under development in the private sector, it will be Gaetano’s task to prepare the test aircraft, plan flight testing, and gather the data. Then it will be Atwood’s team who studies and summarizes the test data, reaches conclusions, and writes the reports. These reports will serve as reference for FAA certification officials as they evaluate fuels that may have significantly different composition and performance from today’s avgas...
[Ed note: so far, this thread has focused solely on biofuels for GA because they are certain to arrive at some point as 100LL avgas becomes obsolete. However, there seems to be a serious attempt to bring a Cessna Skyhawk equipped with batteries and an electric motor to the market. As long as the effort appears to be vigorous, I will cover news on that as well. It only has a range of about 90 minutes on a charge, but what the heck. Maybe they should just dump the electric bit and make it into a biofuel-powered turboprop.]
(ePilot, 11/12) "At a press conference at AOPA Aviation Summit, Cessna and Bye Energy announced significant progress on a joint project to retrofit Cessna 172s with 210-horsepower electric powerplants. Though it’s being called a technology demonstrator, the two companies sounded very much committed to bringing their “Green Flight Project” airplane to the market. For example, the first demonstrator’s schedule has the airplane making its first flight in the spring of 2011. The airplane will be powered by an electric motor manufactured by Bye Energy, and an optional, 40-hp Jet A-powered auxiliary power unit. The first airplane will have a two-blade composite propeller, but plans are to make a switch to a six-blade propeller on the first supplemental type certificated variants. Charles Johnson, COO of Bye Energy, said that the first electric Cessna 172s would match the performance of conventional, piston-powered 172s, and that its weight and balance profiles would not change “one bit.” He also said that gross weight would be the “same or lower” than a conventional Skyhawk. Of particular interest is the fact that the electric motor will not fall off with altitude—because it does not require air to generate power..."
I'll have to admit my skepticism this project will get very far unless something revolutionary happens in the meantime. The energy content of liquid fuels is unmatchable short of nuclear fission. Either the costs will run high for the final product as it has for electric surface vehicles offering a standard driving range, or the range will be short as it is now and the prices will still be high due to the tiny production numbers involved. No free lunch. I envision a $350,000 Skyhawk with an operating range of 2 hours cruise with only 90 minutes usable and a 24-hour recharge cycle. The only hope for this thing is a breakthrough in battery technology, and while batteries are better than ever before they are still not able to pack the energy to weight of liquid fuel. An APU is almost comical on an airplane of this type and size, I predict that idea gets dropped within the first design cycle.
I have always heard rumors about 100UL or a synthetic 100LL, what I am worried about is the T-6 and Stearmen I have both where made to run 130 and what is going to happen when I can't even get Low Led?
It wasn't a lie, it was ineptitude with insufficient cover.