Swift Enterprises Ltd. has unveiled a new general aviation fuel that is less expensive, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendlier than any on the market, said co-founder John Rusek.
The general aviation industry includes all flights other than military and scheduled airline flights, both private and commercial. Data on Swift Enterprises’ 100 percent renewable general aviation fuel was presented April 28 at an annual meeting of an international committee that oversees aviation fuel standards. Unlike current biomass fuels, SwiftFuel© is comprised of synthetic hydrocarbons derived from biomass. Rusek said it can provide an effective range (distance between refueling) greater than petroleum while its projected cost is half the current petroleum manufacturing cost.
The innovation by Swift Enterprises’ propulsion and energy researchers meets or exceeds the standards for aviation fuel as verified by nationally recognized laboratories, said Rusek, a professor in Purdue University’s School of Astronautics and Aeronautics Engineering.
Swift Enterprises, founded seven years ago at Purdue Research Park, is led by Rusek and his wife, Mary, who have been involved in the field of energy more than two decades. The meeting was held by the Coordinating Research Council of ASTM International in Alexandria, Va. ASTM International is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world.
“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 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, John Rusek said. In addition, he said, the components of this fuel can be formulated into a replacement for jet/turbine fuels.
The aviation industry has been the only form of transportation to use leaded fuel (tetraethyl lead) since an Environmental Protection Agency ban went into effect 30 years ago. However, that lead-free exemption will cease in less than two years.
“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.”
“John and Mary Rusek have devoted their lives to coming up with practical, renewable energy,” said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and chief operating officer of the Purdue Research Foundation, which manages the Purdue Research Park. “This fuel could change aviation history and be an economic boon for the state of Indiana and the Midwest, where we can abundantly grow the resources to produce SwiftFuel©.”
Swift Enterprises officials are in discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration, which has initiated a cooperative agreement with the company to evaluate the fuel.