SpiceJet today flew the country’s first biofuel-powered test flight from Dehradun to Delhi. The said biofuel is said to replace the costly aviation turbine fuel in the future as a more economical and environmental friendly option. The test flight from Dehradun which was to supposedly test the usage of biofuel was done via a SpiceJet Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. This fuel if brought into mainstream usage, would also contribute to lower costs in the aviation sector. Notably, the Spicejet test flight partially used biofuel to fly from Dehradun to Delhi.
SpiceJet remarked that this biofuel has been partially made from renewable sources like agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable fractions of industrial and municipal wastes. The carrier also said that the usage of biofuel on these aircrafts would make flight travel more efficient, and cleaner thus drastically cutting operational costs for airlines. It would also be the most appropriate substitute for aviation turbine fuel, one of the heaviest expenses on the airlines’ part.
SpiceJet also said that the biofuel which was used in the test flight from Dehradun to Delhi was developed by Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum. On departure, the flight was flagged by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat from Dehradun's Jolly Grant airport and around 20 people participated in this test flight of 25 minutes. These included officials from aviation regulator DGCA and SpiceJet.
Talking about the recently tested biofuel, SpiceJet said that five hundred farmer families in Chhattisgarh took part in the production of the partially-refined biofuel. Officials of the airline also further added that the biofuel constitutes a mix of the oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant and aviation turbine fuel, which comes off as the final product. Looking at the recent times for the aviation industry, where the airlines remain troubled by rising operational costs, biofuel might be the perfect way to cut operational costs by replacing aviation turbine fuel. It was also highlighted by SpiceJet that 25% of the right engine would have biofuel mix, while the left engine of the aircraft would completely depend on the conventional aviation turbine fuel.
Ajay Singh, SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director said, “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.” If the tests prove to be successful then Indian airlines will also join the leagues of USA and Australia based airlines which have already adapted to biofuel usage thus saving on huge operational costs.