Ethanol powered Ipanema agroaircraft

27. října 2013
Ethanol powered Ipanema agroaircraft

During trip to Brazil, I was introduced to one of the lesser known members of the Embraer family: The EMB-202A Ipanema. This awkward looking green-painted crop duster is a 40 year-old design with a 21st century fuel tank. Over 1000 of these aircraft have been built since 1973. What makes the Ipanema so special? It runs on hydrated ethyl alcohol fuel, better known as ethanol. Or as it´s known in Brazil as homegrown 100% Alcool. The fuel, which is derived from natively grown sugar cane, is converted into alcohol. The increased oxygen content of the fuel even gives a 7% horsepower boost. There are downsides though. First, the 4% water content increases maintenance costs due to risk of corrosion in the fuel system. Also, the fuel has less energy content by volume so the useful range would be less on the same tank of 100 octane low lead avgas. Yet, even with the increased risk to the fuel system, according to Embraer, the Ipanema has delivered a 38% reduction in direct operating cost by running on ethanol.Embraer has built 40 out-of-the-box ethanol ready Ipanemas, and has converted and additional 150. The engine received certification to run on ethanol first in October 2004, followed by the airframe in March of 2005. The engine that powers the Ipanema is made by the same company (Lycoming) that makes the engine for the small piston Cessna line. Imagine a 38% reduction in your aircraft´s operating costs. Those are margins that are good for flight schools and good for private pilots. Sugar ethanol is more efficient than corn ethanol because more energy is preserved in the production process. To simplify, having to go from corn to sugar to alcohol is more difficult than just going from sugar to alcohol. Any change in regulations to encourage General Aviation to use sugar based ethanol would necessitate the implementation of an innovative policy solution. A coalition of engine and airframe manufacturers, airports and regulatory agencies would be absolutely essential to get the system up and running. The result would stimulate General Aviation, further environmental protection, and is a net gain for consumers buying groceries. - See more at:, kráceno

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