Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is leading a four-year aerospace industry-university research program to investigate the potential use of biofuels from non-food sources for small- and medium-size aviation engine applications. These could include jatropha- and algae-derived biofuels, as well as biobutanol, to power aircraft engines.
The objectives for the project include identifying and assessing appropriate biofuels, studying their effect on engine components such as combustors and fuel systems, developing appropriate technologies and design changes to accommodate them, and conducting tests comparing current jet fuels with first-generation ethanol, as well as second-generation biofuels.
The alternative fuel project is one of several initiatives announced recently by the governments of Canada and India under a joint research collaboration agreement in the field of science and technology. The Canadian portion is being funded through the International Science and Technology Partnerships Program.
P&WC is managing the project and dedicating resources at its research centres in Longueuil, Quebec and Mississauga, Ontario to look into engine components and materials changes. Infotech Enterprises Ltd. and two major Indian oil companies will share in this effort. Four Canadian institutions, McGill University, Laval University, Ryerson University and National Research Council Canada are also participating, along with the Indian Institute of Technology, Science and Petroleum.
P&WC has previously undertaken research into alternative jet fuel blends using shale and tar sand oil derived products, as well as hydrogen.
P&WC made the announcement at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK (14-20 July), where it also announced that its Geared Turbofan engine (earlier post) will power Lufthansa’s new Bombardier CSeries aircraft. The GTF engine targets a more than 12% improvement in fuel burn with significant reductions in engine noise, environmental emissions and operating costs.
Lufthansa has signed a Letter of Interest for up to 60 of the new mainline jet, including 30 firm and 30 optional aircraft. The announcement marks the launch of Bombardier’s CSeries program, which is exclusively powered by the next-generation Geared Turbofan engine.