Honeywell enters Canadian flight programme to test a new biofeedstock and higher blends of its green jet fuel
Canada's first revenue biofuel flight last month used a small percentage of Brassica carinata (photo: Bombardier)
Fri 4 May 2012 – Honeywell’s UOP has started what it describes as the world’s first comprehensive test programme involving its Green Jet Fuel product and a new biofeedstock specifically designed for biofuel production. A series of test flights are being carried out in Canada in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Ottawa-based Agrisoma Biosciences, which has produced a new non-food, industrial oilseed crop derived from Brassica carinata. The programme will also test blends of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel at higher ratios than the 50/50 level approved by fuel standards body ASTM last year for commercial use. Canada’s first revenue biofuel flight last month by Porter Airlines used a blend that contained one per cent of Agrisoma’s feedstock.
The test flights are being conducted on a modified Falcon 20 twin-engine jet featuring in-flight collection of emissions by a trailing T-33 aircraft equipped to measure in-flight emissions, allowing for later evaluation of the fuel’s emissions performance. The flights will provide the world’s first ever real-time, in-flight emissions measurements for a biojet fuel. Previous evaluations of Honeywell’s Green Jet Fuel have found a 60 to 85 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-based fuels, claims the company.
“This is a unique programme of test flights, given that we are using a new feedstock to produce the Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, and it will be used in a higher ratio than before,” said Jim Rekoske, Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “Additionally, the collection of in-flight emissions will allow for further verification of the superior environmental performance of the fuel.”
The flights are using Agrisoma’s Resonance Energy Feedstock product that was grown in Saskatchewan in the summer of 2011 and is being commercially contracted on significant acres in western Canada for the 2012 crop year. The Brassica carinata, also known as Ethiopian mustard, crop is uniquely suited for production in semi-arid areas that are unsuitable for food oilseed production and so will not compete with food crops for land resources, says the company.
It says the vigorous crop has been specifically developed for production in the brown soil zone regions of western Canada, with good resistance to biotic and abiotic stressors, excellent harvestability, as well as good lodging and shatter resistance. Trials have shown it to deliver oil content of 44% with yields that deliver attractive economics for growers.
For the Porter flight, conducted on a Bombardier Q400 turboprop, the one per cent Brassica carinata derived fuel was blended with 49 per cent Camelina sativa supplied by another Canadian company Targeted Growth. The two crops are members of the family of flowering plants known as the Brassicaceae, which also include well-known plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.
“Resonance has been developed in Canada and our test flight programme with NRC completes the value chain validation as well as providing comprehensive data demonstrating the reduced carbon footprint of biojet fuels compared to traditional fossil fuels,” said Steven Fabijanski, President and CEO of Agrisoma.
The flight test programme has received funding from the Canadian government’s Clean Transportation Initiatives.