Porter to operate Canada’s 1st biofuel-powered revenue flight

During April, Porter Airlines plans to use one of its Bombardier Q400s to conduct the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada.

On 9 February, in preparation for Porter’s upcoming flight, a Q400 test aircraft became the first in Canada to fly using American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D7566 bio-derived jet fuel, which was recently certified.

“We are timing our biofuel-powered flight close to Earth Day to emphasise the contribution that biofuels are expected to make in helping the aviation industry meet its targeted reduction in emissions,” said Robert Deluce, president and chief executive officer, Porter Airlines. “Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft are already among the ‘greenest’ aircraft in the world and the use of biofuel will make the aircraft even more environmentally conscious.”

Porter’s biofuel-powered revenue flight will utilise a 50/50 blend of biofuel with Jet A1 fuel. The biofuel portion is derived from the oilseed crop, Camelina sativa (49%) and Brassica carinata (1%).

“The two-hour preparatory flight was flawless and the bio-derived fuel performed as expected,” reported Mike Arcamone, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “During the flight, the Q400 aircraft successfully undertook several manoeuvres including engine-out climbs, rapid engine accelerations and cruising to verify the performance of the aircraft while using the bio-derived fuel.”

Other key partners in the biofuel program, which was first announced in 2010, include Saskatchewan-based Targeted Growth Canada (TGC), the producer of the crop of Camelina sativa and Pratt & Whitney Canada, which manufactures the PW150A engines on the Q400. Funding for the programme is being provided by the partners as well as by the Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN).

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