SWIFT Fuels


#1

I ran a search on Swift Fuels and found no topics on those combined words, so I’ll start one here.

In the three (3) part video series below, Aero TV News, talks with the people who founded SWIFT Fuels and covers some of the basics behind the concept of producing aviation fuels using improved biomass technology. With the financial markets using any and every excuse to artificially pump-up the price of a barrel of oil on the world’s exchanges, what was once a mere $30/barrel (I can remember back that far) is now ranging between $120 to $106 per barrel depending on whether you are talking about Brent Crude or WTI Crude. Regardless, the pricing has gone beyond ridiculous and the speculators, working in conjunction with the politicians (globally) are raping the consumers world wide, especially here in the U.S. and the U.K.

This hurts General Aviation tremendously. This is no longer a minor impediment to GA, it is now a genuine crisis in GA. The question is simple: How do we get off the Middle East oil nipple? We’ve been sucking on that nipple for quite some time and we’ve now even fought wars over that same nipple. We’ve dedicated tax dollars to establishing military basis around the Middle East, that are strategically designed to “secure” oil fields, while calling it something else. The point here, is that we seem to be fully invested in a future that retains its dependency on foreign source of crude, while ignoring the negative effects that such policies will have and are now having on our national economy.

When the financial markets use the excuse that democracy breaking out in Egypt of Libya, is cause for nearly 10% rise in crude, you know we are getting raped at the pump and the truck (for us pilots). Are we not tired of calling the FBO, ordering fuel and being told that our rapist will be there with a truck in 15 minutes with a long “hose” in hand and a big fat “nozzle?” I mean, we’ve got to be both sick and tired of this nonsense by now.

So, where do we go from here. How do we get off this path that will destroy GA if allowed to go too far? Is SWIFT, or something like it, the answer? And, when do we as responsible Pilots, start demanding that alternatives be brought to the market place?

For anyone who flies (rent, lease or own), this has GOT to be a very significant turning point for you. Honestly, I never thought we would see aviation fuels at the retail price levels they hold right now in the United States. Of course, I never thought we would see 911 either. But, even before 911, fuel prices were on the rise. 911, simply provided the financial markets with more “excuse” to abuse us at the pump/truck. Make no mistake about, we are most definitely getting raped by a hose with a very large nozzle and it is simply UNFAIR and in my book, downright immoral - or at least, very unethical.

We must get off the nipple. Permanently.

SWIFT Fuels Part 1

SWIFT Fuels Part 2

SWIFT Fuels Part 3


#2

How does SWIFT address this?


#3

Swift had 2 “nays” from the ASTM committee and is about to begin flight testing with 100SF alternative fuel.


#4

I got what was in the video that I posted, but - the say (drum roll please) that producing the biomass fuels using their process, would not only the U.S. GA market to come “back home,” but would actually be something that could get mass export status in the process. They’ve had some ASTM issues in the past, just like anyone else that has attempted an alternative to crude replacement for aviation fuels, but they also say that they’ve worked out those formula problems and could be ready for ramped up production in relatively very little time.

I’ve heard that they are facing opposition from the current distribution regime (read: monopoly) now in place and that one of the biggest barriers to entry is not the manufacturing process of SWIFT fuels, but the entrenched oil companies that won’t allow a fair playing field to the non-Billionaire Club participants who want to get us off the Middle Eastern black gold nipple.

But, whether SWIFT of someone else, don’t we need to get off the dependency of foreign oil? I would think the answer would be a resounding yes, but I’ve been wrong before. Now, as far as the new pricing is concerned, I was a little bit concerned about what was said in video regarding the overall expected reduction for the end-user after switching to SWIFT fuels. I would have liked to have heard a reduction on cost per gallon that was larger and more substantial, but maybe I missed something in the translation.

If they can get us back to pre-1997 levels, that would seem reasonable to me - but I could be extremely far from reality on that guess. Point being - the General Aviation Community in this country needs Fuel Cost Change and we need it yesterday. We cannot sustain this rate of increase. 121 won’t sustain it and 91 won’t sustain it. And, quite frankly, our economy won’t sustain it. Aviation is an irretractable component of our economy and a rise in its annual cost basis guarantees a rise in consumer prices almost across the board.

If not SWIFT now, then who later?


#5

Can you post some information on that vote, I haven’t seen or heard of anything on it yet. The FAA put CAAFI together which was supposed to help move things forward on finding the ‘best alternative’ to the current solution, but a lot of people don’t see the FAA as being the right entity to be in search of an alternative fuel for General Aviation.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has completed initial testing of SWIFT fuel in one of its aircraft and intends to get STC approvals from the FAA on using SWIFT in its entire fleet of training aircraft, to include singles and twins. They (SWIFT) are basically stipulating something like 15% increase in range due to the higher energy content/output of the SWIFT fuel and a lower freezing point for the fuel overall given its organic biomass source.

I’ve read somewhere where they needed an order of 1 million gallons to justify full-blown production and apparently, that’s potentially what Embry-Riddle can offer them. I have not confirmed the 1 million gallon statement, however.

GAMI, is supposed to be another source for an alternative, but Embry-Riddle went with SWIFT, allegedly because of the FAA testing done on detonation over the years and because of the reduction in CO2 emissions. Embry-Riddle, apparently felt more comfortable with SWIFT. I’ve read that approximately 45% of airborne carbon emissions in the United States, comes (in large degree) from fossil based fuels. SWIFT is supposed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions as a natural benefit, which is awesome for our environment as well.

I sill want to know more about the rubber-meets-the-road cost to the pilot, but bringing the source home for once, has got to have some significant cost savings advantages for pilots, owners and operators.


#6

I’m actually an Undergraduate student at Purdue University just starting to get involved with Swift so I’m not sure which information they want announced but I’ll tell you that the two “nays” were contacted and they said they would withdraw their negative vote. One had to do with the definition of Biomass and the other apparently had issues with a grammatical error in the report. I believe someone the FAA was as KLAF today and testing is about to start in one of their Cessnas, which is going to be registered as experimental for exhibition. The farthest trips planned are to Arizona and Oshkosh.

As for the price at the pump, I’m not sure but I will let you know if I hear anything.

Again, I’m not an official source so some of my information may be off… but I think it’s pretty close.


#7

What’s with the “Middle East Oil” poll?

Our (the US) number one source of imported oil is Canada.

Number two is Mexico.


#8

You are 100% absolutely correct.

However, we’ve not gone to war in Canada or Mexico, for oil. We have gone to war in the Middle East for oil and Saudi Arabia, is tucked directly under Mexico as being the 3rd largest oil import source into the United States. And, Saudi Arabia, is currently stealing Iraqi oil, as we type - regardless of the fact that the U.S. media refuses to report on it in the aggregate. That was not the case before the war.

If you so desire, consider the poll question: Can the United States General Aviation Industry Survive on Continued Imports of Foreign Oil, Regardless of Source? I’m ok with that change in language.


#9

Thanks for the input, Bones. I had not heard about the two thumbs down at the ASTM. The last thing I heard was that SWIFT and ASTM had worked out the way in which “standards” would be approached. Now, I’m reading that the ASTM is changing the game on standards, by not agreeing to any “alternative” standard, which to my mind makes no sense at all.

I’m also reading that the fox is watching the hen house at ASTM, by creating procedures that guarantee there are no real alternative standards - not sure if that has been cleared up yet. The last I heard, Swift, was basically castigated and told not to attend certain meetings that would involve the decision making process on alternative standards, which of course made Swift rather upset.

It is my understanding that standards are to come out of the ASTM and certification, out of the FAA, but it appears as though someone or something had attempted to block SWIFT from becoming a genuine market force. I think it is worth remember that these changes in fuel source would also (eventually) extend to Turbine aircraft as well, which means the people who stand to lose the most are those belonging to the current Oil Establishment. Thus, it probably makes the list of potential road-blocks at the ASTM, a very short one, no doubt.

One way or another, alternatives must come forward and when they do, the prices have to drop as the built-in oil establishment won’t be phased out of aviation over-night. So, I would anticipate the market competition between “alternatives” and the current fossil based establishment, would be enough to generate some declining costs for the pilot/owner/operator at the pump/truck. At least, that’s my theory.

Please keep this thread informed with whatever you can from your “inside” position!

BTW - what will you be doing as an undergraduate with SWIFT exactly - if you can discuss it?