Greener Flying? Renewable Aviation Fuel Being Developed by Swift Enterprises

sorghum growing in texas photo

If Swift Enterprises' bio-aviation fuel takes off, sorghum will one day power planes. Photo: Cobalt via flickr.

The race to find an alternative to petroleum-based aviation fuel just got a new contestant: Swift Enterprises. Though not yet ready for commercial production, the Indiana-based company says that it has developed a bio-aviation fuel made from landfill waste, sorghum, algae and wood chips which it says will be cheaper to produce and perform better than current aviation fuels.

Half the Cost of Petroleum-Based Fuel, Eventually
Currently it costs $60/gallon to produce the company’s so-called ‘Swift Fuel’ but Swift Enterprises expects that once it is ready to be produced in commercial quantities the cost will drop to about $1.80/gallon, or about half that of petroleum-based aviation fuel.

Better Performance Claimed
What’s more, the company claims Swift Fuel outperforms petroleum based fuels by 15%—the company points out that this means that if a plane can fly 1,000 miles with a given quantity of aviation fuel, with Swift Fuel it could fly 1,150 miles.

The big hurdle at the moment is for the fuel to receive ASTM certification. Swift hopes that final approval from the international technical certification board will come as soon as next June.

:: Medill Reports
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