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.
“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.