The Neiva Aeronautical Industry, a subsidiary company of the Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer, delivered the first alcohol-powered Ipanema airplane for agriculture use.
The ceremony took place in the city of Botucatu, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, in the Southeast of Brazil, where the company’s headquarters is located.
The aircraft was also the 1000th of the Ipanema model to be delivered, previously available with petrol-powered engines.
According to information from the company, the new aircraft is the first series airplane in the world to fly with an alcohol-powered engine.
According to the company, as well as being three to four times cheaper than aviation petrol, the fuel extracted from sugar cane is also a cleaner energy source and capable of improving the aircraft’s performance.
“The decision to develop an agriculture use airplane powered with alcohol is based on the fact that Brazil is a great producer of this kind of fuel,” said the statement released by Embraer.
Ethanol has been used in large scale in the Brazilian automobile fleet for about 30 years. According to the company, the new engine offers a reduction of 20% in the operational costs.
As well as launching the Ipanema with the new engine, Neiva is doing the conversion of older engines, powered with petrol, to work with alcohol.
According to the company, this is not only possible “as it is fitting”. The company received up to this moment 100 orders for conversion and has started delivering the kits for the transformation.
The Ipanema, used in pulverization of crops, was developed in the end of the 1960s and started selling in the beginning of the 1970s.
Last year, 83 units of the model were sold, against 46 in 2003. According to Embraer, Neiva currently has 80% of the national market for agriculture use airplanes.
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