Swift looks to European market for piston-aircraft biofuel

February 14, 2013

Swift Fuels LLC, a company developing an unleaded replacement for 100LL, announced Feb. 1 that it had acquired a 50-percent stake in a German firm.

Indiana-based Swift has developed the high-octane 100SF unleaded biofuel and is participating in an FAA testing program that could lead to certification in the U.S. With the recent deal, Zweibrüken, Germany-based Swift Fuel GmbH gains the rights to market Swift Fuels LLC’s 100SF unleaded biofuel and other products in Europe; the German company also will be involved in certification for that market, said Swift Fuels LLC CEO Chris D’Acosta.

The recent business deal allows Swift Fuel GmbH to license the American company’s intellectual property and technical expertise, including proprietary technologies for other transportation-related fuels, additives, and chemicals.

“It’s the whole slate,” said D’Acosta. “It’s not like we isolated a piece and gave them a piece.”

Long focused on research and development, Swift is shifting its attention toward production and commercialization, said D’Acosta, who took the reins in 2012. D’Acosta explained in a media release that his company is helping Swift Fuels GmbH “to be uniquely positioned in unleaded fuels across Europe and to allow key investors to participate in this opportunity.” He later added that the company has received emails since the announcement of the acquisition indicating that investors are interested.

The FAA, industry, and the members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition have taken steps both to cut the lead content in current aviation fuel and to facilitate the identification and approval of an unleaded fuel to replace 100LL, including the establishment of a Fuels Program Office at the FAA in late 2012. AOPA and other groups provided detailed recommendations for the FAA as part of the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee.