IAF to go ‘Green’, tests biofuel blended with the aviation turbine fuel

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New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2018 6:52:50 PM

In an effort to cut down its carbon footprint and attempts to cut down its fuel import bill, team from the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) test flew a bio-fuel demonstrator Russian made An-32, transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) out of Chandigarh on Monday.

IAF, biofuel, aviation turbine fuel, DRDO, civil aviation industry, MiG29, defence newsThe testing is targeted to have the aircraft fly with biofuel over New Delhi, during the Republic Day Parade in January 2019. ( File Photo/Agencies)

In an effort to cut down its carbon footprint and attempts to cut down its fuel import bill, the team from the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) test flew a bio-fuel demonstrator Russian made An-32, transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) out of Chandigarh on Monday. The biofuel blended with the aviation turbine fuel (ATF), has been used for the first time by IAF.

The testing is targeted to have the aircraft fly with biofuel over New Delhi, during the Republic Day Parade in January 2019. The IAF hopes to have the transport aircraft flying with the biofuel blends by 2021.

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“On Monday, the flight was perfect and the transport aircraft flew for one hour and things went as planned,” said a senior officer. Once the An-32 transport aircraft are converted to biofuels, the IAF will try to do the same with other machines in the service including the MiG-29, Su-30 MKI. IAF’s in-house testing facilities along with financial support from the service’s indigenisation fund and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance are involved in the project.

Once the blended fuel is tested and validated by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun, it could possibly help in reducing the import of the ATF for the IAF and the civil aviation industry. With such a step, it will put India in the select group of nations including the US who have flown military and commercial aircraft on indigenous bio-jet fuel.

According to reports, the IAF spends around Rs 40,000 crores for ATF and with the Bio-Aviation Fuel; it is likely that the import costs will drop down roughly between 10-15 per cent.

Bio-Fuel will be produced only from non-edible oils that grow well in arid lands, in states like Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Telangana.

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