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Honeywell pushes for biofuel

May 4, 2012, 06:38 pm

Technology firm Honeywell recently started one of the aviation industry's first comprehensive test programs for the development of practical aviation biofuel. Honeywell is working with UOP and the National Research Council of Canada, along with Agrisoma Biosciences to carry out the program, which aims to replace fossil fuel consumption for a more eco-friendly alternative source. Many aviation groups all over the world are working on biofuel alternatives to make air travel more efficient and affordable through the use of renewable resources and innovative technologies.

Honeywell will be testing various blends of its green jet fuel at different ratios throughout the program to find an optimal blend. Previously, Honeywell developed an alternative fuel source that did not exceed a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel. This time around, Honeywell means to play with the ratios more and work towards and even more environmentally sound mixture for green results.

The biofuel being tested was created with a new non-food, industrial oilseed crop from Brassica carinata, a plant similar to cabbage or turnips. The crop thrives in semi-arid areas but is not usually used for steady crop production. Therefore, using the plant would not compete with food crops for land resources, which is a common challenge many biofuel developers face when addressing criticism from other industries.

"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," said Jim Rekoske, vice president and general manager of the Honeywell UOP's Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. "Additionally, the collection of in-flight emission will allow for further verification of the superior environmental performance of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel."

International aviation regulators officially approved the use of biofuels in commercial flights in 2011, prompting several major airlines to conduct test flights using some mixture of petroleum-based fuel and fuel from plants and crops. AeroMexico, for example, started using the Honeywell biofuel this past November at a mixture of 85 percent petroleum-based fuel and 15 percent biofuel. The alternative energy source was used on a regular passenger service from Mexico City and San Jose, Costa Rica. Since then, Honeywell has become determined to increase the proportion of biofuel in the mixture for even greener benefits.

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