U.S. tech firm Honeywell says it is starting one of the aviation industry's first comprehensive test programs for aviation biofuel.
Honeywell subsidiary UOP will carry out the program in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada and Agrisoma Biosciences, earthtechling.com reported Monday.
Blends of Honeywell green jet fuel will be tested at higher ratios than used in previous demonstration flights, which to date have not exceeded a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum-based jet fuel.
The biofuel being tested has been produced from a new non-food, industrial oilseed crop produced by Ottawa-based Agrisoma from Brassica carinata, belonging to a family of flowering plants that also includes cabbages and turnips, Honeywell said.
The crop can be raised in semiarid areas usually not utilized for good crop production, Honeywell said, so it would not compete with food crops for land resources, a common criticism raised by opponents of biofuel source crops.
Since aviation regulators first approved the use of biofuels in commercial flights last summer, several major airlines have conducted trial flights using a mix of petroleum-based fuel and fuel derived from crops.
AeroMexico began using the Honeywell biofuel last November, at an 85 percent petroleum/15 percent biofuel level, on a regular passenger service between Mexico City and San Jose, Costa Rica, one of the first uses of renewable fuels in everyday airplane passenger service.