Honeywell Jet Fuel Will Push The Biofuel Boundary

Technology giant Honeywell has announced a comprehensive test program for aviation biofuel which it claims will be the first of its kind in the airline industry. The program will be carried out by UOP, a subsidiary of Honeywell, alongside the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Agrisoma Biosciences.

The program will test blends of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel at higher ratios than previous demonstration flights, which have so far not gone beyond the threshold of a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.

aeromexico-biofuel-flight

image via Aeromexico

Honeywell say the biofuel that it is using for the tests has been produced from what it calls “Resonance Energy Feedstock,” a new nonfood, industrial oilseed crop produced by Ottawa-based agribusiness Agrisoma. The feedstock is derived from Brassica carinata, belonging to the family of flowering plants known as Brassicaceae, which also includes cabbages and turnips.

Honeywell say the crop can be produced in semiarid areas usually unsuitable for food oilseed production, meaning it will not compete with food crops for land resources–one of the common concerns raised by opponents of biofuel crops.

The crop used for the jet was grown in Kincaid, Saskatchewan, last summer, Honeywell said.

“This is a unique program of test flights, given that we are using a new feedstock to produce the Honeywell Green Jet Fuel, and it will be used in higher ratio than before,” Jim Rekoske, vice president and general manager of the Honeywell UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit, said in a statement. “Additionally, the collection of in-flight emission will allow for further verification of the superior environmental performance of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel.”

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.