TodayApril 17, 2022

Flying high with alcool

Brazil alcool is ethanol

Back on October 19, 2004, in São José dos Campos Neiva Indústria Aeronáutica, a wholly-owned Embraer subsidiary, received type certification for it’s ethanol-fueled Ipanema crop-dusting aircraft from Brazilian aviation regulating agency Centro Tecnico Aeroespacial (CTA). The Ipanema is the first series-production aircraft in the world coming out of the factory certified for flying with ethanol.

On June 13, 2005, Embraers ethanol-fueled Ipanema crop-dusting airplane won the prestigious Flight International Aerospace Industry Award in the General Aviation category at the magazine’s award dinner in Paris.

On December 28, 2005, in São José dos Campos, Neivas Ipanema ethanol-fueled crop duster aircraft won this year’s Scientific American 50 Award. The Ipanema appeared in the December issue of the Scientific American magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2005 worldwide.

“An efficient and cheaper source of power, the ethanol alternative will find favor with farmers for lowering their crop-dusting aircrafts operating costs,” said Satoshi Yokota, Embraer Executive Vice-President for Development and Industry.

“Ethanol is also a more environmentally friendly fuel and Neiva research indicates that it may prolong the engine’s life, making it a prospective national market success. “In the medium and long terms, we may benefit from the introduction of the Ipanema in countries that adopt ethanol as a source of energy.

“The choice for using ethanol was based on the fact Brazil is a major producer of this type of alcohol, extracted from sugar cane, and automobiles have been using this fuel for more than 20 years. This makes ethanol about three to four times cheaper than aviation gasoline (AvGas).

Additionally, ethanol-powered aircraft engines are cleaner and have lower levels of emission than AvGas because they have no lead in their composition, providing for a more environmentally friendly fuel. Neiva has registered the name “AvAlc” (Aviation Alcohol) in Brazil for use of this new fuel.

The use of an ethanol-powered engine will allow for an increase of about 5 percent in power, thus improving performance in general, namely takeoff run, climb rate, speed, and maximum altitude. Initial tests showed that ethanol may also boost from 20 to 80 percent of the engine’s maintenance cycle.

The conversion of existing engines is not only feasible but also cost-effective. Neiva received 69 orders to retrofit customers AvGas-fueled Ipanemas into ethanol-powered airplanes. This work is expected to begin in January of the next year. The Ipanema is Neiva’s best selling aircraft with over 30 years of uninterrupted production and over 1.000 units sold. This year, Neiva forecasts 82 Ipanema deliveries compared with 46 in 2003. A dominant force on the domestic Brazilian market, the company’s market share is about 80 percent.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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