Posted on: 02 September 2011 by Ross McSweeny
Embraer and General Electric (GE) have reported the successful completion of a series of test flights using biofuels on an Embraer 170 flying from the airframer’s Gavião Peixoto facilities.
The tests aimed to benchmark the operational characteristics of the aeroplane and its GE CF34-8E engines when powered by HEFA (Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids) fuel under a broad range of flight conditions. The flights involved powering one of the two GE engines with the maximum ASTM permissible mix of 50% HEFA (derived from camelina) with Jet-A.
Following the recent approval of biomass-based HEFA fuels by ASTM, Embraer and GE have stepped up their efforts with the objective of supporting the development of a broader range of sustainable biofuels for aviation. With these tests, both companies confirmed that technical plans and procedures for future fuels testing are robust, enabling value-added and timely testing of additional fuels.
“We have a strong and longstanding commitment to developing efficient and environmentally responsible products. This series of tests, and their very positive results, gives us a lot of new information to continue our sustainability programme as it relates to future products,” explained Mauro Kern, Embraer executive vice-president of engineering and technology. “Supporting the development and deployment of sustainable aviation biofuels is one of the industry’s top priorities, and we are firmly engaged in that effort.”
The series of flights set the stage for more biofuel developments that Embraer and GE will undertake with fuel produced from additional feedstocks and production pathways under consideration by the industry. These fuels are currently under study by fuel providers worldwide, including many in Brazil.
“Embraer and GE plan to engage in future biofuel testing and ASTM substantiation activities. This could encompass a broad range of pursuits, from testing of additional fuel production pathways and feedstocks, to potentially increasing HEFA blend levels,” remarked Laurent Rouaud, chief marketing officer, GE Aviation. “These flights have also demonstrated that the aircraft and engine manufacturers are also interested in limiting net carbon emissions from their ongoing product development activities, and in working with producers to establish early production demand for the benefit of the entire aviation enterprise.”