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Flight and static engine tests of ReadiJet 100% renewable biojet show significant reduction in emissions, slight improvement in fuel consumption

T33 tailing the Falcon 20 in a test flight to measure emissions. Click to enlarge.

Results from the world’s first civil flight powered by 100% biofuel that met petroleum fuel specifications without blending released by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) show that the biofuel used in the flight last October is cleaner than and as efficient as conventional aviation fuel. (Earlier post.)

Data collected in-flight revealed a 50% reduction in aerosol emissions when using biofuel compared to conventional fuel. Furthermore, additional tests performed on a static engine showed a significant reduction in particles (up to 25%) and in black carbon emissions (up to 49%) compared to conventional fuel. These tests also show a comparable engine performance, but an improvement of 1.5% in fuel consumption during the steady state operations.

The jet’s engines required no modification as the biofuel tested in-flight meets the specifications of petroleum-based fuels.

The ReadiJet effort combines ARA’s CH PROCESS technology—a catalytic hydrothermolysis (CH) process to convert triglycerides (e.g., crop oils and animal fats) to non-ester biofuels or intermediates—with Chevron Lummus Global’s ISOCONVERSION process technology to create drop-in biofuels that will be ready to use at 100% levels in jet and diesel engines, eliminating the need for blending with petroleum-derived fuels. (Earlier post.) The fuel was produced using oilseed crops commercialized by Agrisoma Bioscience Inc.

NRC flew the first civil jet powered by 100% unblended biofuel on October 29, 2012, achieving a milestone for the aviation industry. The Falcon 20 flew on biofuel at 30 000 feet, similar to regular commercial aircraft altitude. A second aircraft, the T33, tailed the Falcon in flight and measured engine emissions.

We are pleased with these positive results. The flight went smoothly and the data collected enables us to better understand the impact of biofuel on the environment. We will continue to work with our partners Applied Research Associates, Chevron Lummus Global and Agrisoma Bioscience Inc. to bring this effective energy solution to market. The final product will be a sustainable option for reducing aviation emissions.

—John R McDougall, President of the National Research Council of Canada



Aviation could be the ideal user for biofuels. It could be their way to contribute to:

1) pollution and climate change emissions reduction.

2) OIL imports reduction.

3) trade deficits reduction.

4) health care cost reduction +++

Since aviation biofuels may cost more the regular fossil fuel, it will not be used in USA unless mandated.

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