Efforts Move Forward To Produce Alternative Aviation Fuels


Swift Enterprises announced this week that its biomass fuel, designed as a replacement for 100LL, has been OK’d by ASTM International for use as a test fuel. “With this approval, we can begin full-scale testing with industry stakeholders,” said Mary Rusek, president and co-owner of Swift. Extensive testing of aircraft fuel systems, engines and materials compatibility must take place before 100SF can be fully certified as airworthy. Rusek said once testing is complete, the fuel will be comparably priced to other GA fuels and more efficient. Also this week, 13 major airlines signed on to work with two producers of alternative jet fuel, AltAir Fuels and Rentech. “Our intention as an airline industry is to continue to do our part by supporting the use of alternative fuels,” said Glenn Tilton, CEO of United Airlines and chairman of the Air Transport Association. “We urge the U.S. government and the investment community also to do their part to further support this critical energy opportunity,” he said. The new agreements are nonbinding, but ATA said they lay “critical groundwork for negotiations over specific alternative-fuels purchase agreements.”

The AltAir Fuels project is working to create jet fuel from camelina oils or comparable feedstock, refined at a new plant in Washington State. The Rentech project in Mississippi is working to produce fuel principally from coal or petroleum coke. AVweb’s editorial director Paul Bertorelli took a look at the Swift Fuel project back in March; click here for that discussion. Also, the FAA said last week the federal government has awarded more than $600 million to help fund the development of biofuels. “Renewable jet fuels are critical to building the cleaner, more sustainable Next Generation commercial aviation system in the United States,” said Nancy LoBue, FAA Acting Assistant Administrator for Aviation Policy, Planning and Environment. “This Administration is committed to establishing domestic renewable jet fuel production [to] address energy security, improve the environment and also create jobs in rural America.”