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New series of test flights for Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced from optimized oilseed feedstock and at higher blend ratios

18 April 2012

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that Honeywell Green Jet Fuel (earlier post) will be used for the first comprehensive test program using a new optimized industrial oilseed biofeedstock specifically designed for biofuel production. The test flights, to be done in Canada with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., will also feature in-flight collection of emissions by a trailing aircraft, allowing for later evaluation of the Green Jet Fuel’s emissions performance.

The program will also test blends of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel at higher ratios than previous demonstration flights, which have been conducted using a 50/50 ratio of biofuel and jet fuel produced from petroleum.

The 50% blend level is the level approved by ASTM, the worldwide standards body that approved commercial use of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel last year. (Earlier post.)

The series of flights, expected to take place this month, will use Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced from Resonance Energy Feedstock, a new non-food, industrial oilseed crop produced by Ottawa-based Agrisoma. The feedstock is derived from Brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard)and is optimized for use as a biofuel feedstock. Agrisoma says Carinata seeds have a 44% oil content.

Agrisoma developed and patented an advanced crop improvement technology it calls Engineered Trait Loci (ETL) technology. ETL technology is able to efficiently stack multiple traits into engineered plant chromosome structures, creating a new generation of enhanced crop plants. To create crops optimized for fuel production, Agrisoma is stacking traits such as enhanced oil yields, increased monounsaturated oils and uniform long chain content.

The crop is also suited for production in semi-arid areas that are unsuitable for food oilseed production, meaning it will not compete with food crops for land resources.

The Resonance crop, used to produce Honeywell Green Jet Fuel for the flights, was grown in Kincaid, Saskatchewan, in the summer of 2011.

The flights will be conducted on a modified Falcon 20 twin-engine jet. Previous evaluations of Honeywell Green Jet have found a 60-85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-based fuels.

Honeywell UOP’s Renewable Jet Fuel Process technology was originally developed in 2007 under a contract from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce renewable military jet fuel for the US military. The process is based on the catalytic deoxygenation, isomerization and selective cracking of the hydrocarbons present in natural oils and fats to yield a high quality, ultra-low sulfur jet fuel that meets Jet A-1 specifications, including freeze point of -47 °C (-52.6 °F) and flash point of 38 °C (100 °F). The renewable jet process deoxygenation and isomerization/selective cracking catalysts are supplied by UOP.

The process technology is fully compatible with existing hydroprocessing technology commonly used in today’s refineries to produce transportation fuels. When used as part of as much as a 50% blend with petroleum-derived jet fuel, Green Jet Fuel is a drop-in replacement that requires no changes to the aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.

April 18, 2012 in Aviation, Bio-hydrocarbons, Fuels | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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60 - 85% reduction? That's dramatic. This has to make air travel competitive with even trains for green. Keep at it and maybe we can reach 100%, though I would be curious to see if there are other non greenhouse but still toxic gases generated.

Diesel trains can run on much the same stuff, and at far lower fuel cost per passenger-mile.  Trains can be electrified with a potential emissions rate of zero.

I doubt that biofuels will ever allow a competitive commercial aviation industry.  It will go back to being for the military and the rich.

Trains are electrified, with diesel gennys powering electric drives for the wheels. The electricity has to be generated somehow, and at this time it is mostly via a fossil fuel.

The fastest trains in the world don't carry diesels.  Outside of Japan, they probably don't have significant power coming from petroleum.  A locomotive which doesn't carry its own power source can take more power and get more to the wheels, allowing it to accelerate faster.  It can also regenerate power to the supply bus when braking.

The power supplies for electric locomotives can be combined-cycle turbines burning natural gas at 60% efficiency, rather than medium-speed diesels at ~45%.  Natural gas has less carbon per MJ than petroleum, and if there's wind or nuclear power on the grid they can run on that with no carbon at all.

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