GAMI: EPA Will Break Loose Unleaded Fuel Demand

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As the FAA's complex Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative moves to the second phase of its testing, General Aviation Modifications Inc. is closing in on final testing for STCs on its G100 unleaded fuel. GAMI started work on its fuel in 2010 and has been pursuing fuel approvals via STC, despite fierce resistance from the FAA. But the viability of G100 or the other two fuels that made it through the PAFI process depends on the EPA acting on lead restrictions.

As part of the Clean Air Act, the EPA was mandated to publish rules eliminating lead from all motor fuels. But playing a perpetual safety card, the FAA has kept those rules at bay. Roehl says once a viable unleaded fuel is available—GAMI's G100 or candidates from Swift or Shell—EPA may have the trigger point it needs to issue the final NPRM declaring lead to be a danger in avgas.

In this exclusive podcast at Sun 'n Fun this week, GAMI's Tim Roehl told AVweb that the final test parameters for its fuels are complete and the final testing for the first group of aircraft should be done by later this year. "We're really kind of flying under the radar, heads down working very diligently completing the STC for the fuel. It's been a challenging year of finagling the final requirements. The goal is two STCs, one for engines and one airframes, each of them AMLs (approved model lists)," Roehl said.

Following the successful completion of those tests, GAMI will be granted a large number of approvals for airplanes of similar configuration, mostly on the low-horsepower spectrum. "We've basically completed all the tests for the first set of airplanes that used a Cessna 172 at Embry-Riddle where we did the full complement of testing there, with the exception of the detonation testing," Roehl says.

GAMI plans to incrementally expand its test program to include higher horsepower aircraft of the Cirrus SR22 class. Like Shell and Swift, it would produce and distribute G100 under license, since it doesn't plan to enter the refining business itself. As for price, Roehl said G100 is composed of components readily available in the commodity refining stream and so should be comparable in price to 100LL.

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