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Indian airlines company, SpiceJet has successfully operated the country's first test flight powered by biojet fuel. The SpiceJet with biojet fuel flew from the national capital, New Delhi to Dehradun. The trip between the two cities lasting nearly 45-minutes.
The airline operated with a Bombardier Q400 aircraft, partially powered by the biojet fuel. According to an airline official, the biojet fuel used by the flight was made from Jatropha plant.
In the process, SpiceJet Bombardier Q400 became India's first ever biojet fuel flight. India has now become one of the few countries in the world to use biojet for flying planes. It is also possible the first among developing countries to achieve this feat.
The test flight with biojet fuel comes at a time when the airline industry is witnessing high fuel prices. However, the usage of the biojet fuel on regular flights is still a few years away.
The test flight was carrying 28 people, including five crew members. Reports also suggested that the aircraft's right engine was filled with 75 percent aviation fuel, while the remaining 25 percent was the biojet fuel.
The fuel was prepared by the CSIR- Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun. Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-IIP stated that the flight used a total of 330kg of biofuel for the 45-minute flight.
SpiceJet stated in an official release that the advantage of biojet fuel as compared to ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) is its ability to produce fewer carbon emissions. The biojet fuel also provides better fuel efficiency than ATF.
On the occasion of the successful test flight, Suresh Prabhu, Civil Aviation Minister stated that various efforts are underway to make the aviation sector more consumer-friendly, affordable as well as environmental-friendly as well.
Various ministers present at the function, celebrating the success of the flight also stated that the biofuels will also benefit farmers, while also helping to bring down oil import bill.
The Biojet fuel which was tested by SpiceJet airlines has been recognised by the American Standard Testing Method (ASTM). It also meets all specifications for commercial application in aircraft.
Thoughts On India's First Biojet Aircraft
Biojet fuel helps to significantly reduce carbon emissions, while also being a low-cost alternative. The successful test flight also proves that one operational on standard aircraft can further help reduce the industries dependence on ATF, by almost 50 percent