Monday, July 16, 2012

Agrisoma Biosciences to evaluate biojet fuel derived from Saskatchewan-grown crops

Working in collaboration with Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is validating biofuels in the world’s first comprehensive flight program using biojet fuel.

The Canadian firm Agrisoma Biosciences has developed the Resonance™ oilseed crop; a non-food feedstock crop derived from Brassica carinata, commonly known as Ethiopian mustard, which has an oil profile optimized for use in the biofuel industry, specifically for biojet fuel. The crop is extremely well suited to production in semi-arid areas such as Saskatchewan and offers good resistance to biotic stressors, such as insects and disease, as well as abiotic stressors, such as heat and drought. Carinata is a vigorous crop with a highly branching growth pattern and large seed size. It also has excellent harvestability, with good lodging and shatter resistance.

Test flights took place in Ottawa, Canada, in May and June 2012, where the biojet fuel was tested in the NRC Falcon 20 twin-engine jet at a 50/50 ratio blend with Jet A1 fuel, and then at a 60/40 ratio blend – a first ever flight with higher than certified fuel blend. A second aircraft, NRC’s T33 jet, flew behind the Falcon 20 to measure the engine emissions during both biofuel and conventional fossil fuel operation of the aircraft engines. Systems onboard the Falcon 20 allowed the team to switch back and forth between the two fuel types throughout the flight series.

Preliminary results are positive and indicate that particulate emissions, including aerosols of black carbon, sulphates and by-products of the combustion of aromatic compounds, are significantly lower from biofuels than from Jet A1 fuel.

The crop for the test flights  was grown in Saskatchewan, Canada, in the summer of 2011 and commercial production of Resonance™ is now underway in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada, providing a secure and scalable source of feedstock for biojet manufacturing.

Source: National Research Council of Canada Press Release, Agrisoma website

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