India’s first aircraft test successful on biofuel

New Delhi: India’s first biofuel-run aircraft tested successfully; Spicejet’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft took off for its test flight from Dehradun and landed in Delhi on Monday.

“A mixture of oil from jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel (ATF)— 25 per cent of bio jet fuel and 75 per cent of ATF propelled the country’s first ever bio-jet fuel powered flight. The duration of the flight was around 25 minutes,” Spicejet official informed.

Around 25 people (including crew members) from aviation regulator DGCA and SpiceJet, were in the test flight, an official informed.

This was a test flight to demonstrate that bio jet fuel can be used as aircraft fuel which has the potential to reduce fuel costs by 15 to 20 per cent, said Ajay Singh Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet after landing at Delhi airport.

The airline said in a statement that the advantage of using bio jet fuel as compared to ATF is that it reduces carbon emissions and enhances fuel efficiency.

The indigenously developed fuel has been nearly eight years in the making by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) based in Dehradun along with Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP).

According to the media reports, the institute started its experiment on bio-fuel soon after Virgin Atlantic carried out the first test flight globally in 2008.  By 2010, the Indian institute starting producing few litres of biofuel per month in its laboratory. The fuel was recognised by American Standard for Testing and Material and received a patent by 2011. By 2013, it was tested in a Pratt and Whitney engine in Canada.

An IIP official informed, that bio jet fuel can be produced from animal fat, used cooking oil, waste dairy fat, sewage sludge including more. The oil needs to have a freezing point below -47 degrees so it doesn’t freeze at altitudes at which planes fly, should not catch fire on the ground when being transferred into a plane, must have the same density as ATF, have a certain calorific value and should not choke the filters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *