Tuesday, August 28, 2018

SpiceJet debuts biofuel flight: Will flying change?

New Delhi: India’s first biofuel-powered flight was successfully tested on Monday. The SpiceJet aircraft from Dehradun to Delhi had aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) officials along with other industry stakeholders on board, to ascertain the feasibility of biofuel-powered flights.
To understand if a biofuel flight is likely to feel any different from a regular jet fuel flight, TOI spoke with a senior pilot at an Indian airline. “Aircraft engines use certain grades of fuel, jet A1 fuel being the most common. This is essentially purified kerosene. With biofuel you can just about get anything -- diesel, petrol, or even jet fuel. As long as the grade is right there should be no power loss,” said the pilot who did not wish to be named, as he’s not authorised to speak with the media.
On Sunday, SpiceJet had tested flying the biofuel-powered Bombardier Q400 (VT-SUI) for about 20 minutes in Dehradun skies, after which the company’s chief strategy officer G P Gupta had said, “The results have been very positive. According to preliminary studies, the power from biofuel was even better than regular aviation turbine fuel (ATF).”
The biofuel used for Monday's SpiceJet flight has been developed by Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum using the jatropha crop. Jatropha is a toxic wild plant that has gained importance as a biodiesel crop. The flight was powered by a mix of 25 per cent of this biofuel and 75 per cent ATF. The advantage of using biofuel over ATF is that it reduces carbon emissions and enhances fuel efficiency, the airline said in a statement.
27/08/18 Ramarko Sengupta/Times of India