- What is the market potential for your UL102?
Swift Fuels believes that the majority of the 200 million gallons per annum of avgas consumed in North America serves a commercial piston-engine workforce that needs high-octane fuel to maintain the efficiency and safety of flight operations. Our UL102 unleaded avgas has been independently tested by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center and has been shown to increase aircraft range by up to 8%, eliminate lead fouling, reduce the wear and tear on an engine, and eliminate toxic lead emissions.
UL102 is the only "all-hydrocarbon" unleaded avgas alternative capable of replacing 100LL fleetwide. There are no toxic metals (e.g., lead, MMT), aromatic amines, or oxygenates in UL102. The fuel is compatible with engine/aircraft fuel systems and distribution supply chain infrastructure, and combustion exhaust is far less harmful than toxic emissions from 100LL.
- How much will UL102 cost?
UL102 is still in the process of being FAA-certificated for use. Our goal is to make a commercially viable unleaded aviation gasoline that is competitive with the existing fuel price of 100LL, albeit as an UNLEADED fuel. We currently produce the fuel for testing purposes at our blending facility in Lafayette, Indiana.
As a "drop-in ready" all-hydrocarbon fuel, using UL102 means that pilots will reap the commercial benefits of unleaded fuel - no lead fouling, no corrosion of the engine due to lead in the oil, and less wear and tear resulting in longer engine life - while still retaining their aircraft's current performance.
Based upon fleetwide assessments to date, UL102 will not require any hardware modifications to engine/aircraft or distribution supply chain infrastructure.
- OK, so when will UL102 be commercially available?
In order for any aviation gasoline to be commercially available, it requires two things:
1) an ASTM International Production Specification
2) FAA certification
Status of Swift Fuels' UL102:
1) UL102 has had an ASTM International Production Specification (D7719) since November 2013.
2) The FAA and engine/aircraft OEMs have begun evaluating UL102 as part of the FAA Piston Aviation Fuel Initiative (PAFI) in July 2014. Based upon the results of the Phase 1 evaluation, UL102 was selected as a finalist in early 2016, meaning it will continue into Phase 2 for more extensive engine/fuel system testing.
Phase 2 is set to begin in the third quarter of 2016 and is scheduled to continue through its conclusion in fiscal year 2018, at which time we expect the FAA to issue a fleetwide authorization of engines and airframes eligible to use UL102. We further expect the FAA to institute a transition program to cease the use of 100LL.
- Is the fuel tested? Is it ready for use?
Yes, UL102 has undergone extensive ground testing on a wide variety of engines (over 5,000 gallons of fuel, using primarily Lycoming and Continental engines) and has shown excellent results. We have also proven UL102 in flight tests on a variety of aircraft, including Beechcraft Bonanza and Duke, Van's RV-4 and RV-3, Piper Seminole, Cessna 150M, Harvard Mk IV, Sky Arrow 600 Sport, Flight Design CTLS, and Sukhoi SU-26. Most of our testing is performed by independent outside groups to assure the industry and our consumers that the testing is performed to rigorous industry standards. The two most active groups that perform our engine tests are the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center and Purdue University's Department of Aviation Technology.
In addition, our fuel has gone through months of extensive material compatibility testing to confirm it has no detrimental impact on the elastomers, fuel hoses, composites, or other parts of the aircraft or distribution system. Again, we utilize independent outside testing organizations that adhere to ASTM standards for all tests.
Finally, we have had an independent environmental and toxicological assessment to confirm that our fuel has no material defect or hazard that would make it any more dangerous to the industry or to consumers than 100LL.
All of these test results are reviewed and examined by a large cross-industry ASTM International task force assigned to help manage the evaluation of UL102.
The final step is gaining fleetwide certification from the FAA through the PAFI program.
- What is UL94, why is it needed, and where is it available?
UL94 is an all-hydrocarbon unleaded aviation gasoline tailored specifically for lower-compression, lower-octane-demanding piston engines. The aviation gasoline has a Motor octane number of 94 minimum, which is compatible with up to 65% of the existing US piston fleet. UL94 is drop-in ready. UL94 is currently available and in use nationwide. UL94 is compliant with the following specifications for fuels used in general aviation: ASTM D7547 Grades UL91 and UL94 Avgas, D7592 Grade UL94 Avgas, D4814 Class A-4 Auto Fuel, and D910-95a Grade 80 Unleaded Avgas.
Swift Fuels supports the nationwide transition to unleaded aviation gasoline. By introducing UL94 into the marketplace before the conclusion of PAFI, we are helping airports, pilots, distributors, and local communities to understand the transition requirements and the benefits of eliminating tetraethyl lead from the general aviation marketplace before the elimination of 100LL.
Upon completion of the FAA’s PAFI program in 2018, we expect UL102 to replace 100LL nationwide.
- Can Swift's all-hydrocarbon aviation gasolines be mixed with 100LL?
UL94 is 100% intermixable with 100LL in lower-octane aircraft.
UL94 is 100% intermixable with UL102 in lower-octane aircraft.
UL102 is 100% intermixable with 100LL in aircraft fleetwide.
UL94 and UL102 are both all-hydrocarbon fuels with no toxic metals, aromatic amines, or oxygenates. The hydrocarbons in our fuels are similar to those found in all current US transportation fuels; they are safe to use, and the combustion products of these fuels are far less harmful than exhaust emissions from 100LL.
When blended fuel is used in an aircraft, the aircraft must be FAA-certificated or OEM-approved to operate on ALL FUELS in the blend. Check out our UL94 STC page for further information on which aircraft are able to use UL94.
- Is the fuel renewable?
UL102 - No
UL94 - No
Swift Fuels has established a leadership position in the global aviation gasoline marketplace, based upon using premium "all-hydrocarbon" fuel components for the piston-engine fleet. The commercial viability of these fuels (UL102 and UL94) is based upon low-cost petroleum feedstocks processed in oil refineries. Renewable fuels are not economically viable in this market space.
Renewable Jet Fuel blending components - Yes
Our scientists have demonstrated that specialized jet fuel blending components can be derived from a variety of biological sources – including sugars, starches, lignin, bio-waste and other sources, or from petroleum. Swift has proven that a biological source can be transformed by our proprietary chemical synthesis into the exact aromatic hydrocarbon blend we need. Our banner product in this market space is a bio-aromatic hydrocarbon mixture blended with either HEFA or SPK saturates. The resultant fuel was one of four alternative jet fuels evaluated by Rolls-Royce Engines and British Airways as part of the FAA CLEEN Program. After 2 years of rigorous testing, our fuel shows great promise.