India’s 1st Biofuel Flight Tested By SpiceJet: Can It Change Aviation Industry?

The biofuel was made from jatropha crop and developed by Indian Institute Of Petroleum in Dehradun.

India's 1st biofuel powered flight
India’s 1st biofuel-powered flight

A big news is coming in from the Aviation Industry: India’s first biofuel-powered slight has been successfully tested by SpiceJet.

What exactly is biofuel, and what difference does this make?

Keep reading to find more!


India’s 1st Biofuel Flight Tested!

Today morning, Spicejet flew a 72-seater SpiceJet Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from Dehradun to Delhi, which was powered with partial biofuel and partial aviation turbine fuel.

This 25-minute flight was officially India’s first biofuel-powered flight.

Besides journalists, this flight had DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) officials and aviation experts to find out the efficiency.

Spicejet’s chief strategy officer G P Gupta said, “The results have been very positive. According to preliminary studies, the power from biofuel was even better than regular aviation turbine fuel.”

What Is Biofuel?

The biofuel which was used for the test flight has been prepared by Indian Institute of Petroleum and was made from jatropha crop.

While 25% of the file was bio, rest was aviation turbine fuel.

Besides jatropha crop, biofuel can be also made from agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable fractions of industrial and municipal wastes.

Advantages Of Biofuel?

With biofuel such as jatropha crop, carbon emissions are reduced, and overall fuel efficiency is improved.

Aviation fuel which is currently used: jet A1 fuel, being the most common is an expensive commodity. This is mainly a super-refined form of kerosene.

On the other hand, biofuel is flexible and can be used with petrol, diesel, and even jet fuel, as evident in today’s testing.

As per SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh, dependency on traditional aviation fuel will decrease by 50%.

And it is estimated that if all airlines start using biofuel, then the cost of tickets can also come down. Besides, the efficiency of the engine also improves.

The biofuel used in today’s test flight was made from the oil extracted from jatropha crop, and 500 families from Chhattisgarh were involved in the production of this partially-refined biofuel.

Indigo’s Attempt At Biofuel

In 2013-14, Indigo attempted to use and test biofuel for their flights.

However, they found that if they import aviation fuel from Singapore, then it will be cheaper compared to biofuel, and the idea was dropped.

As of now, some airlines in the USA and Australia use biofuel mixture with jet fuel, and if India starts using the biofuel commercially, then it will become the 3rd nation to do so.

However more tests are required to check the feasibility of such flights.

We will keep you updated, as receive more updates.

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