Tom Ehresman, an inventor from Loveland, Colo., was awarded a 2007 Lindbergh-Lycoming Grant for his project to eliminate the use of leaded avgas.
Ehresman is developing a direct injection igniter fuel nozzle that would allow jet fuel, diesel and other types of fuels to be used in high-performance aircraft piston engines.
Ehresman, chosen from 150 applicants around the world, received one of 14 Lindbergh grants awarded so far this year. Grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, a symbolic amount representing the cost of building Charles Lindbergh’s plane, “The Spirit of St. Louis,” in 1927. To date, more than $2.7 million has been awarded to 284 researchers.
Ehresman, who has patented his development, will use the grant money to “start the experimental phase” of the project. “We need to come up with materials that can withstand the engine temperatures and provide the voltage to provide ignition,” he said.
Once the system is developed, the initial push will be to retrofit existing engines, he added. “When 100LL goes away, what are these planes going to do?” he asked.
Meanwhile, the foundation is now accepting applications for next year’s grant. Deadline for applying is Nov. 1.
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