Working with the National Research Council Canada, Environment Canada’s Air Quality Research Division recently conducted an exhaust emissions and engine performance assessment of an aircraft engine operating on a next generation aviation biofuel with 100% biofuel content. This testing led to the world’s firsttest flight of a Falcon 20 jet operating on the same 100% biofuel .
Conventional aviation fuel is a petroleum based fossil-fuel. 100% biofuel is generated from biomass such as plants and algae. Currently, aviation biofuels are only certified for use if they are blended with conventional aviation fuel, up to a maximum of 50%.
The gaseous emissions and engine performance using the new 100% biofuel were comparable to conventional aviation fuel due to the similarity in physical properties between the two fuels. However, preliminary test results showed that the particulate emissions from the new biofuel were lower by 21% at idle and 7% at full power, and that black carbon emissions were lower by 50% at idle and 28% at full power.
The aviation sector is responsible for about 3% of the global manmade CO2emissions. In June 2009, the International Air Transport Association announced that the airline industry is committed to achieving three ambitious goals including a continuous improvement of fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020, reaching carbon neutral growth by 2020, and a 50% absolute reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Adoption of biofuel is a critical component to achieve the goals set forward by the aviation industry. These goals are important not only for the sustainability of the aviation industry but also essential for reducing the dependency on fossil fuels.
Contact: Dr. Tak Chan, (613) 998-7913, Emissions Research and Measurement, Air Quality Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate