This project began in July, 1996. The purpose of the project was to develop a fuel based on ethanol that could serve as a viable replacement for 100LL aviation gasoline. The South Dakota Corn Utilization Council provided funding to South Dakota State University (SDSU) to pursue this goal. SDSU was able to acquire, through federal surplus property, a 1962 Cessna 180 to serve as the prototype aircraft for the project. As can be seen from the timeline below, a comprehensive flight test program was undertaken with this aircraft and STC's were obtained to certify C-180's and C-182's on this fuel.
Following this success, the project has expanded to include to additional aircraft. A 1982 Mooney 201 was acquired to begin work on certification of Lycoming engines, Secondly, a Grumman Ag Cat is in the process of conversion to provide an alternative fuel to the aerial applicator community. Rig Testing of ethanol with fuel systems and fuel pumps is currently in the final stages of testing with Rig Test 4 ending this fall. The Piper Seneca will be used to enhance testing through side by side comparisons of fuels. The Seneca will also be used for detonation testing in the fall of 2005.
Several individuals and institutions are involved with this project. Together, they provide the wide range of expertise needed to develop a fuel for use in all piston aircraft.
South Dakota State University
SDSU has the lead role in development of ethanol fuels for aviation. SDSU specializes in the flight testing of AGE with an emphasis in detonation and fuel efficiency testing. SDSU has also been instrumental in specification development for AGE.
Great Planes Fuels Development
The role of this start up company is to develop AGE-85 into a viable commercial product for use in the aviation industry. In addition, the company has been working to develop automotive applications, and ethanol fuels for diesel applications.
Texas Skyways was incorporated to provide high performance engines for aircraft. They specialize in engine modifications for Cessna single engine models from the C-180 through the C-210. With vast experience in engine modification, Texas Skyways has provided significant input in the conversion of aircraft engines to AGE-85. Their home page is http://www.txskyways.com
Engineering & Environmental Research Center
This organization has provided valuable information on the development of AGE-85. As a DOE research laboratory, they have vast experience in energy related research. The EERC specializes in materials testing and fuel formulation. More information can be found at http://www.eerc.und.nodak.edu/.
This project has received significant support from many organizations within the aviation industry. A few of these are listed below. We deeply appreciate their interest and contribution to this project.
Lastly, this project would not be possible without the generous support form our funding sources. Working with these organizations has been one of the highlights of the project!