Honeywell says it has completed initial testing of renewable jet fuel on its TPE331 turboprop engine, its TFE731 engine and a commercial Auxiliary Power Unit, with performance and fuel economy results comparable to typical aviation fuels.
Honeywell is part of a consortium of aviation companies, major airlines and engine manufacturers that have been testing bio-based jet fuels.
For the past several months, Honeywell has been testing a biofuel blend developed by UOP LLC, a Honeywell subsidiary based in Des Plaines, Ill., which is 50 percent jatropha and algae-based biofuel, and 50 percent petroleum-based fuel.
The engine tests included evaluation of combustion characteristics and a full-engine test for the TPE331 turboprop engine.
“The tests gave engineers information on engine and APU performance with the biofuel blend, and we found performance to be comparable to traditional fuels,” said Ron Rich, Director of Advanced Technology for Honeywell Aerospace.
“Exhaust smoke or organic particulate emissions were reduced 15 to 50 percent, depending on the engine and power setting, due to the lower aromatic content of the biofuel blend.”
“Test results indicate biofuel blends can be used safely for aviation, including business aircraft powered by Honeywell engines and APUs, with no effect on engine performance or operation,” added Rich.
“Biofuels can lower life cycle carbon dioxide emissions relative to conventional petroleum derived jet fuels, lowering the carbon footprint of aviation, and can therefore improve local air quality around airports.”
The fuel was produced using oil from algae and jatropha, two sustainable, second-generation sources that do not interfere with food, land or water resources using UOP’s proprietary process technology.
In this process, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from the biological feedstock resulting in a high quality, bio-derived fuel that blends seamlessly with petroleum-based fuel and acts as a drop-in replacement. The fuel meets all the critical specifications for flight.
“These testing programs are an important step towards certification, and ultimately a sustainable energy future, where both commercial and military applications will have access to diversified sources of energy that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and our carbon footprint,” said the General Manager of UOP Renewable Energy and Chemicals Jennifer Holmgren.