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India flies countrys first military aircraft with bio-jet fuel

A remarkable development in the Indian Aviation industry was made when India’s first military flight using blended bio-jet fuel flew on Monday, on an AN-32 transport aircraft. The aircraft was flown in Chandigarh. The bio-jet fuel used in the aircraft is made from Jatropha oil supplied from the Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority, with its processing station at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

The test was executed involving the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), and the Experimental test pilots. ASTE, the Indian Air Force’s leading testing agency, closely monitored the entire process.  

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Indian Air Force, the Directorate General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum collectively initiated, regulated and executed this project.

Addressing a seminar in July, Air chief marshal B.S. Dhanoa, stated, “The IAF intends to fly an AN-32 with 10% bio-jet fuel at the Republic Day flypast on January 26, 2019.” And the vision of the team has been successful after a long time of regressive research and hard-work.

An IAF announcement on Monday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out extensive engine tests on the ground. The next step is the flight trials using the 10 per cent bio jet blended ATF.

It is expected that the Indian Air Force will fly the An-32 transport aircraft on 26th January 2019 using the biojet fuel in the Republic Day flypast and the world shall see another stepping stone towards becoming a more responsible nation while taking all possible steps towards energy conservation.

Importance of biojet fuel

Biofuel is an effective solution against the greenhouse gas emission (CGH), emitted by airlines that adversely impact the environment and air quality. According to the Air Transport Association (IATA), the country aims at shifting towards renewable jet fuel.  

Across the world, more than 2,500 commercial flights have by now flown making use of the renewable biofuel. 

Biofuels are more resourceful than batteries, fuel cells or even liquefied hydrogen is because of the scalability issues. But that would require switching up the infrastructure and altering the process of how energy is derived as a whole. 

On the other hand, Jet biofuels, work more or less like petroleum jet fuel. And hence it can be put to use, with the same existing infrastructure and engines. 

Therefore, to reduce the pollution levels caused by commercial planes, this shall be a very big and effective step. It is a step towards fulfilling the global aviation industry’s goal of reducing the net carbon emissions from aircraft by 50% by 2050.

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