Will Use Of Biofuels Lower Airfares?   

The flight was powered by a fuel mixture comprising 25 percent bio-fuel and 75 percent aviation turbine fuel.

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The country’s first biofuel spiceJet plane before taking off from Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun.
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Setting a new benchmark in the aviation industry, India successfully tested its first bio fuel-powered flight on 27th August 2018.

The aircraft, a Bombardier Q400 airplane operated by the low-cost carrier SpiceJet took off from Dehradun, Uttarakhand and landed in Delhi on Monday morning. It was powered by a fuel mixture comprising 25 percent bio-fuel made from Jatropha seeds and 75 percent aviation turbine fuel.

A member of the Euphorbiaceae family, Jatropha is a wild plant, that contains toxic compounds.

This fuel, according to the CSIR- Indian Institute of Petroleum, has reduced carbon emission and higher fuel efficiency. SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh said that the new fuel can potentially bring down airfares.

Anil Sinha, Principal Scientist of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum said a pilot plant has been set up to increase the scale of bio fuel production. Simulation to study conditions at which the production scale can be increased are also underway, Sinha said. This is significant given that the International Civil Aviation Organisation is setting a limit on Carbon dioxide emissions.

Presently, biofuels are costlier than normal fuels, said Sinha, suggesting that possible reduction in costs, and airfares, are long-term prospects.

Sinha said biofuels cost 1.5-2 times more than traditional aviation fuels.

If different feed stocks are used, prices can become very competitive.
Anil Sinha, Principal Scientist of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum

(The story has been originally published on BloombergQuint and republished on The Quint with permission)

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