The home-grown technology to produce bio-jet fuel by Dehradun’s Indian institute of Petroleum (IIP), a premier laboratory of CSIR ( Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) has been formally approved for use on military aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The provisional clearance (PC) certificate was handed over by R.Kamalakannan, Group Director (AT&FOL), Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) to Saleem Akhtar Farooqui, Principal Scientist from CSIR-IIP in the presence of Group Captain Asheesh Shrivastava and Wing Commander A Sachan of the IAF and R Shanumgavel of CEMILAC on November 25 at Bengaluru . This certification represents India’s growing confidence in aviation bio-fuel sector.
The technology, developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has undergone a series of evaluation tests and trials over the last three years. The testing of airborne items is a complex and meticulous process involving intricate checks while ensuring highest levels of flight safety. The scope of these rigorous assessment is defined by international aviation standards. Fuel being the lifeline of aircraft obviously requires thorough analysis before being filled into manned flying machines. The certification received by the is an acknowledgement of the satisfactory results obtained from various ground and inflight tests performed on the indigenous bio-jet fuel by various test agencies supported by the IAF.
Earlier , an AN-32 aircraft, filled with blended bio-jet fuel, had flown over Raj Path at New Delhi during the Republic Day celebrations in 2019. Thereafter, the performance and reliability of the Indian technology was also tested when the Russian military aircraft safely landed and took-off from Leh airport on January 30, 2020 at high altitudes under severe winter conditions. The fuel was also used on a civil commercial demonstration flight operated by SpiceJet on August 27 Aug 2018 from Dehradun to Delhi. These test flights with green fuel underscored the capabilities and commitment of Indian scientists and airmanship of IAF to serve a national cause.
The approval by CEMILAC is a culmination of many years of intensive research and active support of many agencies including the test facilities of Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) Panipat Refinery and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). This clearance will enable Indian armed forces to use bio-jet fuel produced using indigenous technology across all its operational aircraft.
This will also enable early commercialisation of the technology and its mass production. Indian bio-jet fuel can be produced from used cooking oil, tree borne oils, short gestation oilseed crops that can be grown off-season by farmers, and waste extracts from edible oil processing units. It will not only reduce pollution in air by virtue of its ultralow sulphur content compared with conventional jet fuel, but also contribute to India’s Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions targets. It will also enhance the livelihoods of farmers and tribals engaged in the production, collection and extraction of non-edible oils.