Is There SwiftFuel in Your Future?
Computer industry pundit, columnist, documentary film maker, small airplane pilot, classic car enthusiast and former international oil industry correspondent Robert X. Cringely is talking up SwiftFuel. Just in case the name isn't catchy enough (the fuel, not the author), Cringley calls sorghum-based go-juice “The Splenda of motor fuels." "It has an octane rating of 104 (higher than the 100 octane fuel it replaces) yet contains no lead or ethanol. SwiftFuel mixes with gasoline, can be stored in the same tanks as gasoline, and be shipped in the same pipelines as gasoline.” Swift Enterprises claims the sorghum brew yields six times as much fuel per acre as corn and delivers get up to 20 percent better gas mileage than… gas. They're currently selling the alt fuel as a replacement for leaded gasoline in small airplanes. Too good to be true? Cringely doesn’t address many of the problems associated with the whole agricultural feed-into-fuel deal: converting wilderness into farmland, fresh water consumption, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, energy required to convert the biomass into SwiftFuel, etc. Despite E85's rough ride (here and elsewhere), look for more of this outside-the-oil-well thinking as oil prices escalate.