Swift Enterprises has agreed for Purdue University researchers to test the company's renewable, unleaded general aviation fuel in various projects. According to mfrtech.com, Purdue University has conducted tests of SwiftFuel in six aviation piston engines provided by the National Test Facility for Fuels and Propulsion (NaTeF), a research facility housed in the university's Department of Aviation Technology. The engines ranged from a Lycoming TIO-540-J2BD, the highest octane-demand engine in current production, to a Ranger L-440 built in 1933, which, at 65 octane, is one of the lowest octane-demand engines in use. Principal investigator David Stanley said SwiftFuel appears promising as a replacement for 100-octane, low-lead (100LL) avgas, which several groups – including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – want discontinued because it contains a known carcinogen. Future testing and research with Swift Enterprises may expand to studying new turbine fuels which potentially could replace Jet-A, the ubiquitous commercial jet fuel, Stanley added.
Under the Swift-Purdue agreement, the university is also testing SwiftFuel in a Beechcraft Duchess light twin which is used as the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (ALAR) by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. ALAR is funded by NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop the capability to measure fluxes of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Testing included two days of paired flights under similar atmospheric conditions, allowing for good head-to-head comparisons of SwiftFuel and 100LL under actual flight conditions, according to mfrtech.com.
Paul Shepson, principal investigator for the project and head of Purdue's Department of Chemistry, said he was was unable to discern any significant difference in performance between SwiftFuel and 100LL during the flight tests. The tests compared the fuels' performance, acceleration and operational differences both on the ground and in the air. Swift Enterprises is based at the Purdue Research Park.