Biofuel technology developed indigenously by CSIR a game changer: Dr Harsh Vardhan

The union science and technology minister was speaking in the backdrop of the recent historic flight by a latest generation Q400 aircraft of SpiceJet powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on patented technology of CSIR-IIP Dehradun

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New Delhi: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Vice President, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said that the biofuel technology is going to be a game changer as the Biojet fuel is greenhouse gas neutral, carbon neutral, reduces air pollution and to cap it, it would bring down import bill on crude oil. “Commercialization of biofuel promises large-scale employment avenues both in formal and informal sector,” said Dr Vardhan.

Dr Vardhan was speaking in the backdrop of the recent historic flight by a latest generation Q400 aircraft of SpiceJet powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on patented technology of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) Dehradun.

The genesis of this development goes back several years to an Indo-Canadian consortium project from 2010 to 2013 involving CSIR-IIP, Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore, in which research was directed towards the production of Bio-aviation fuel by CSIR-IIP from jatropha oil and its evaluation under various conditions, culminating in a detailed engine test by Pratt and Whitney in Canada that showed fitness for purpose.

Spicejet – as the lead organization for the demonstration flight – and Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development Authority- the supplier of the jatropha oil for the flight, sourced from over 500 farmers, received considerable policy and regulatory support from the MOPNG Working Group on Biofuels and the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) in making this flight happen.

With this maiden flight India joins the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation. The use of bio jet fuel, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99 percent, is expected to provide indigenous jet fuel supply security, possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up, superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators.