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 the engines maintenance cycle.
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 Neivas best selling aircraft with over 30 years of uninterrupted production and over 1.000 unit’s sold . This year, Neiva forecasts 82 Ipanema deliveries compared with 46 in 2003. A dominant force on the domestic Brazilian market, the companys market share is about 80 percent.