Embry-Riddle Announces Plan to Switch to Biofuels

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) has announced plans to partner with Swift Enterprises to switch to lead-free renewable fuel in its fleet of 45 Cessna 172 training aircraft. Swift developed the biofuel that was tested by the FAA Technical Center "with promising results" according to ERAU. The university chose Swift fuel because it has already passed FAA tests for detonation and because it achieves lower fuel burns than current aviation gasoline. ERAU's engineers at its Eagle Flight Research Center at the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus will perform certification testing enabling the fleet of Cessnas to use the Swift fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency cites lead emissions from small aircraft as contributing 45 percent of lead emission in the nation's atmosphere, said ERAU. But the challenge has been to remove the lead from aviation fuel while preventing detonation in aircraft piston engines, which have much higher compression than automotive engines.