Oshkosh: Lindbergh-Lycoming Grant Awarded to Thomas Ehresman

A project that will focus on eliminating leaded aviation fuel with a new direct injection igniter fuel nozzle received a $10,580 grant from a partnership between the Lindbergh Foundation and Lycoming Engines at EAA AirVenture.

July 25, 2007 - The Lindbergh Foundation announced today that Tom Ehresman, an inventor from Loveland, CO, has been awarded a 2007 Lindbergh-Lycoming Grant for his project titled “Creating a Direct Injection Igniter Fuel Nozzle to Eliminate the Use of Leaded Fuels in Existing High Power Density Aircraft Piston Engines.” This is the second Lindbergh-Lycoming grant to be awarded in the newly established partnership between Lycoming Engines and the Lindbergh Foundation to specifically fund a project focusing on aviation/aerospace.

Aviation gasoline is the only fuel in the world that still contains lead. Soon, 100-octane low lead aircraft fuel (100LL) will be discontinued because of the tetra-ethyl-lead (TEL), which is added at the refinery, and is highly toxic. Current high-performance aircraft piston engines require this 100LL to operate without failure at the higher power settings. The move to unleaded fuels is fast approaching and no viable alternative fuels have been found that these higher power piston engines can use without incurring damage or greatly decreasing operational limitations. Ehresman plans to continue developing a direct injection fuel nozzle system that would allow numerous types of fuel to be used in current high-performance aircraft piston engines, including jet fuel, diesel, kerosene, and other liquid fuels. Elimination of TEL will not only improve the air quality as lead is removed from fuel emissions, but would also allow refineries to consolidate refining operations and reduce fuel infrastructures, further reducing harmful emissions, risk of spills/pipeline lead, and lower consumer fuel prices.

Ehresman received one of 14 Lindbergh Grants awarded so far this year. He was chosen from 150 applicants from around the world. Lindbergh Grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, a symbolic amount representing the cost of building Charles Lindbergh’s plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, in 1927.

The extended deadline for the Lindbergh-Lycoming Aviation Grant is Nov. 1, 2007, with funding in July 2008. Anyone interested in applying for this grant will find information and a downloadable application at www.lindberghfoundation.org.

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