Swift Fuels opens aviation gasoline blending facility

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — More than 100 people attended an event Friday, Sept. 13, to unveil two facilities that could bolster the process to commercialize an unleaded high-octane aviation gasoline called 100SF.

Officials from Swift Fuels , based in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open their new aviation fuel blending facility in Lafayette, Ind. They also broke ground on their new pilot plant operations.

The company is investing $2.5 million in the operating facilities. The blending facility will store at least 50,000 gallons of unleaded, high-octane aviation components for sales and shipment. The pilot plant will produce more than 10,000 gallons of 100SF per month when it reaches full capacity, according to Swift officials.

swift-ribbonChris D’Acosta, CEO of Swift Fuels, said the company’s 100SF aviation gasoline can be used in all general aviation piston engine aircraft worldwide.

“There are more than 165,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States alone, and they operate on leaded aviation gasoline today because an unleaded high-octane fuel needed to operate aircraft has not been available until now,” he said. “Swift Fuels’ 100SF was developed to replace leaded aviation gasoline. We are transitioning from several years of research and development to the start-up of this fuel blending and pilot scale production facility, which will strengthen our commercialization efforts in various fuels markets.”

Dignitaries at the event included State Reps. Sheila Klinker and Randy Truitt; Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski; West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis; Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh; Joe Seaman and Erin Nelson of Greater Lafayette Commerce; and Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation.

Hasler said the event was a celebration of collaboration.

“The Swift Fuels expansion is a model for what we are trying to do with a university and community partnership,” he said. “The end result is a better, stronger community that helps everybody, and we’d like to see it happen more often.”

The pilot plant is being built in Nebraska, and will be delivered to Lafayette within four weeks. D’Acosta said one of the key features of the pilot plant is its versatility.

“The pilot plant will be a continuous operation. It can produce the unleaded high-octane gasoline from petroleum or bio-sourced material,” he said. “This provides Swift Fuels many options on how to serve various markets.”

D’Acosta said the process to commercialize 100SF will include meeting guidelines from federal and international organizations.

“Currently we are working with ASTM International, a cross-industry collaborative group, on the production specification of 100SF,” he said. “We also must meet Federal Aviation Administration standards in coordinating efforts for an ultimate fleet-wide certification.”

Established in 2012, Swift Fuels was initially created by merging the interests between Swift Development Renewable Fuels LLC and South Dakota-based RMB Energy to scale up production of a high-octane, unleaded, general aviation gasoline and bring this fuel to market. Swift Fuels’ corporate goal is to develop high-performance fuels and fuel-blending components to serve the global aviation industry.

About General Aviation News Staff

Comments

  1. David Gaeddert says:

    Been following this issue for a while. Tetraethyl lead is bad stuff. Dupont chemical had some bad experiences back in ’20′s, almost didn’t commercialize it. Even the small amount in100LL fouls spark plugs and sludges oil, so the sooner it’s gone, the better.
    I believe it’s actually about 1 pound per gallon heavier than petroleum, hence the more energy per gallon.
    When can I get 1 or 2 5-gallon cans to try out in my HD 1200 Sportster, and, in a few months, my snowblower?
    Seems a good idea, hope we all get a chance to try it, hope it it isn’t stifled by Big Oil and corn/ethanol lobby.

    • Where did you get the idea it is heavier than 100ll?
      That is not what we were told.
      The advantages of SwiftFuel are:
      •Seamless replacement of 100LL (no engine modifications)
      •15% increase in range over 100LL (no oxygenates)
      •20% drop in pollutants over the current 100LL fuel
      •15% more volumetric energy than 100LL
      •No need for stabilizers or additives
      •Some other benefits include:
      •Lower exhaust emissions
      •104 Motor octane fuel
      •Completely miscible with 100LL
      •NO deterioration in octane over time
      •Does NOT contain Ethanol
      •High lubricity
      •Production flexibility with a wide variety of viable feedstocks
      •Crops other than food stock can be used
      •Utilization of existing infrastructure for distribution
      •Independence from foreign oil
      •No harmful and boutique chemicals – ETBE, TEL, MTBE
      •Stable over time, can be density checked for quality
      •2 pure components rather than 78 (with 100LL)
      •Inside-out vs. Outside-in distribution
      •General aviation can be first transportation sector using carbon neutral sustainable fuel

      • David Gaeddert says:

        Dear Rich, I apologize if I read wrong on specific gravity/ pounds per gallon. Weight and balance being important, can you help us out on this? Don’t believe their website specified that number. This Sunday afternoon’s weather cannot make up it’s mind, so I’ll go to uspto.gov, check text of their patent, see what can be found. If we can get what is claimed at any reasonable price–which we can find out when production begins–this will be huge for all spark ignition engines, not just aviation. Repeating worry about Big Oil and ethanol lobby.

        • Hi Dave,

          The event I was at where the people that built Swift Fuels gave their presentation was in Southern Indiana at the Aviation Association of Indiana annual conference and this was about 5 or 6 years ago when it was a fledgling company.
          Two of the engineers that did some design work for them happened to be seated at my table for the evening meal.
          Now that was dinner or supper depending on what part of the country you’re from.

          The people from Swift Fuels and the two engineers at my table repeated that the weight per gallon of fuel is less than 100LL and that the BTUs per gallon was higher.
          Therefore there was an increase in range per gallon of fuel and a decrease in weight per gallon.

          If something has changed, I like to know so I don’t repeat erroneous information.
          Regards,
          Rich

          • David Gaeddert says:

            OK, my Sunday afternoon time on uspto.gov was better spent than the time spent watching my home team, Buffalo Bills, lose another game. I found Swift Fuels, 8,049,048, “Renewable engine fuel”, issued November1, 2011. Cheap me copied and printed out just the text. When not feeling so cheap, I do a $3 online purchase for a link to a PDF copy, including tables and drawings. This is a little heavy reading, but a good explanation of what they are doing and how. One embodiment is the 100UL they are pushing. Other embodiments with higher octane ratings should be interesting to Reno air races and F1 auto racers. The documentation trail goes back to July, 2006, when you talked to these young people.

            Come on, let’s have a chance to use some of these ideas!

  2. Dennis Reiley says:

    First off – leaded fuels are an ecological disaster, there is no legitimate reason not to replace 100LL. Lead and mercury are two health dangers that has already permeated our environment and most be removed and we have little idea of how to do so other than burying it in our waste which is only a very temporary solution. The immediate question is what will this replacement cost and will it be cheaper than the aviation industry converting to mogas wherever possible. The true government gobbledygook is the actual cost of ethanol because it is hidden in government subsidies, does anyone actually know? You can’t tell by looking at fuel prices.

  3. Let’s get rid of ethanol in gasoline and replace it with Swift Fuel. Then we would have a much simpler and better mogas for aircraft (using the STC without ethanol testing? What a concept). Mogas with Swift Fuel would most likely increase acceptance of mogas throughout the industry, including FBO’s not willing to deal with mogas and the possibility of ethanol contamination. Using the same Swift Fuel as an avgas that is also a replacement for ethanol. Think of how many billions of gallons of Swift Fuel would be produced just here in the U.S. and how a large production scale would affect the price of Swift Fuel avgas, making flying and the entire industry have a better opportunity for success. BTW As I understand it, Swift Fuel is 100% private investment and have received no federal funds and answers only to its investors, something this country’s successes are based on.

  4. Blah, blah, blah. Show me the money. What’s the price and how does it move in relationship to other fuels such as car gas. I don’t believe that leaded aviation fuel is any threat at all to the environment. Most of this environmental stuff is the equivalent to digging holes and then filling them back up. If the government wasn’t involved very few of them would get more than a yawn. However, there is no turning back and we will have to burn no lead at some point. How about good ole ethanol free mogas blended with addivities such as vapor lock protection? I think someone is already starting to market it. This fuel can survive on its own without government help and the bleatings of politicians.

    • You are correct that government gobbledee gook is the reason any of this is happening.
      I don’t have a problem with removing lead from fuel but the zealots are not content that it has been completely removed from all automotive fuel.
      And now they have to have something to demonize since they are already in that mode.
      What better to single out than airplanes?
      Everybody knows that airplanes are owned and operated by evil rich people that only got where they are by cheating other people out of what the other people rightfully deserved.
      But that being what it is, the government will eventually mandate that aviation fuel must be lead free.
      I had dinner with a couple of the engineers that did some of the preliminary design work for Swift Fuels around 2008 or so.
      They are good young hard working people.
      What has already been proven is this:
      The fuel they make has been used in aircraft for a few thousand flight hours.
      It works fine and no problems have been detected from it’s use.
      It can be mixed with regular 100 LL fuel, it is lighter per gallon compared to 100LL and per gallon contains more energy hence will carry the airplane farther than a gallon of 100LL.
      And from the numbers they gave me at the time, it can be made for just over 50 cents a gallon.
      Sound too good to be true?
      Maybe.
      I wish ‘em luck.

Speak Your Mind

*