An aviation fuel company based at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette is on the cusp of what could be a major industry development. Swift Fuels LLC’s Unleaded 102 Motor Octane gasoline is one of two formulations approved by a government and industry collaboration for a next phase of testing. The other is from Shell. The Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative is working on alternatives to a commonly-used aviation fuel that contains harmful toxins.
The company says leaded gas also causes more wear-and-tear on engines.
The Federal Aviation Administration narrowed the field from six to four after initial testing began in 2014. Last week, it announced that the Swift Fuels and Shell entries will now undergo Phase 2 engine and aircraft testing over the next two years.
Swift Fuels Chief Executive Officer Chris D’Acosta says "it is a true testament to the tireless work of the entire Swift Fuels team as we join industry-leading oil companies like Shell and TOTAL in the full-scale movement toward unleaded avgas. That the FAA has orchestrated the nationwide PAFI in itself clearly demonstrates their full-on support of this effort, and we are grateful that they have taken on this initiative. We applaud the thorough testing and evaluation criteria of each Phase of PAFI, as it will undoubtedly help us attain our dream of seeing the day when toxic lead will be permanently removed from avgas in favor of environmentally-friendly, high-performance unleaded fuels. It’s been the ongoing mission of Swift Fuels to eliminate lead-caused damage to aircraft engines, and to eliminate lead’s impact on the environment we live in."
In 2013, the company cut the ribbon on a $2.5 million avgas blending facility. Swift Fuels has also launched an Unleaded 94 fuel it believes can be used in 65 percent of planes powered by piston engines in the U.S. He says UL94 fuel is being used by aviators that "want to use unleaded and want to use it now." It is also working on formulations made from renewable sources.
You can learn more about Swift Fuels’ UL102 gas by clicking here.
Swift Fuels Chief Executive Officer Chris D’Acosta tells Inside INdiana Business demand for its fuels is rising inside and outside the state.