In the firsts for India, a commercial airline SpiceJet successfully operated an aircraft on biofuel from Dehradun to Delhi – an a major benchmark for Indian civil aviation sector opening up ways to cut fuel cost, reduce pollution and become independent of non-renewable fuel sources.
A SpiceJet flight took off from Dehradun to Delhi last week, mean to test biofuel for civil aviation for the first time in India. Powered by a special fuel combination of 75% air turbine fuel and the other 25% with a bio-jet fuel, the SpiceJet flight reached its destination, carrying 20 passengers in about 25 minutes – to become the first-ever bio-fueled flight in India. The bio-fuel used in the SpiceJet flight was manufactured in the Jetropha plant by CSIR-IIP of Dehradun to boost the efficacy of the flight was noticeably increased, while reducing the emission of harmful carbon significantly.
The standard testing of the SpiceJet test flight and its compatibility with biofuel was done as per the American Standard Testing Method (ASTM), meeting all the requirements efficiently, for making it available commercially. The flight can accommodate a total of 78 passengers and IATA aims to fly a total of one billion passengers on biofuel-run aircraft as soon as possible. Perhaps, if that happens, not only will the pollution lower significantly, but it could cut down fuel costs for aviation companies and henceforth result in cheaper air-travel. Furthermore, Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport & Highways Minister claims that government is working on a biofuel for the aviation sector but the progress till now is not yet apparent.
However, for aviation sector, the managing director and chairman CSIR-IIP claims that the use of biofuel is much cheaper in cost and helps reducing pollution as well because, aviation industry contributes to 2% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions – compared to traditional jet fuel. Considering the rise in jet fuel prices in India, thanks to GST, the aviation sector might actually opt for a cheaper option; now that the first flight has been tested.