A historic day in Indian Aviation – First biofuel powered flight accomplishes its maiden journey

Dehradun airport witnessed a historic event on 27th August 2018, as the honorable Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat flagged off the momentous SpiceJet flight powered by aviation biofuel, made indigenously, sourced on CSIR-IIP Dehradun’s patented technology.

SpiceJet
SpiceJet Aircraft, Image for illustration purpose only.

As per PIB, at the Delhi airport, Union ministers including Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Shri Suresh Prabhu along with Shri Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation received this latest generation Q400 aircraft.

According to Honorable Minister for Science and Technology and Vice President CSIR, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, this is a historic day and the biofuel technology is a turning point. The biojet fuel which is both carbon and greenhouse gas neutral will lower the air pollution. This technology would reduce India’s crude oil import bill. He also mentioned that with the commercialization of biofuel, large-scale employment possibilities in the formal, as well as informal sector, seem bright.

This development originally began with the Indo-Canada consortium project (2010-2013) wherein along with CSIR-IIP, Hindustan Petroleum, Indian Oil, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore were involved. In this, the research by CSIR-IIP was more intended towards using jatropha oil for producing Bio-fuel for aviation. This was followed by testing it under different conditions and concluded with Pratt and Whitney’s exhaustive engine test which proved suitability for the intended purpose.

To materialize this historic flight, Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG) Working group on biofuels have provided substantial support to Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development authority and Spice Jet – Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development authority, supplied the jatropha oil obtained from more than 500 farmers required for the flight; SpiceJet, the chief organization for demonstration flight.

More than 99% Sulfur oxide (SOx) emission and around 15% greenhouse gas emissions are reduced with this bio jet fuel usage. Apart from this, supply security, better engine performance, low maintenance for airliners and cost savings as availability of feedstock increases at farm levels are anticipated.

India has now joined the elite nations using biofuel in aviation, with this maiden flight.

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