SpiceJet Successfully Tests India's First Biofuel Aircraft

Flights may be the fastest and cheapest mode of transportation but the price to board it also digs a hole in our pockets.  One of the factors affecting this is the aviation fuel used in the flights. Also the manufacture of aviation fuel uses a lot of non-renewable resources which takes hundreds and thousands of years to form. Since the cost of aviation fuel keeps rising, the SpiceJet took an initiative to solve this issue by building India’s first biofuel-powered aircraft.

Bombardier Q400 aircraft, a 78 seater SpiceJet aircraft is first of its kind aircraft that uses a blend of 75% air turbine fuel and 25% biojet fuel. Bombardier Q400 flew with a total strength of 20 humans inside including passangers and officials in a 25 minute flight from Dehradun to Delhi. The biofuel used for this test was engineered by Dehradun-based CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum. It went through numerous tests to ensure flighy safety. The biofuel used in this aircraft was a mixture of oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant and aviation turbine fuel. More than 500 farmer families from Chattisgarh were involved in the production of SpiceJet’s biofuel. There was a considerable decrease in the cost of flight by the use of biofuel. Increasing price of aviation fuel was the greatest concern for the airline industry, which was finally solved by SpiceJet. The right engine will be using 25% biofuel mix, while the left engine will be completely on aviation fuel. By the use of biofuel, it is expected that the engine using it will have higher efficiency. 

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"It has the potential to reduce our dependence on traditional aviation fuel by up to 50 per cent on every flight and bring down fares," said SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh.

The flight was flagged off by the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat from Dehradun's Jolly Grant airport and was whole heatedly received by Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Dharmendra Pradhan, Dr Harsh Vardhan and Jayant Sinha were at the Delhi airport . It is definitely a milestone in the aviation industry laid by SpiceJet. The government will lay environment friendly aviation plans by 2035.

"We want to increase the use of biofuel in the country so that there is reduction in green house gas emission and import of petroleum. We will make sure that more and more airlines start the use of biofuel," said Mr Prabhu, . the Civil Aviation Minister.

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Biofuel not just do good to the aircaft but also contributes to a safer environment as it does not give out any harmful gases on combustion. So,this is also seenas  another step towards safer and greener environment. As the tests have been successful, India could now join hands with countries such as USA and Australia who have biofuel-operated commercial aircrafts. It will in result make travelling by flight more economical without harming the environment and the upcoming generation will see a healthier future.

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