Wings Magazine

Porter conducts first biofuel-powered revenue flight

April 17, 2012, Toronto - Porter Airlines today successfully conducted the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada. In the successful conclusion to a test program that was launched in 2010, the airline flew one of its Bombardier Q400 turboprops from its base at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Ottawa using a 50/50 blend of biofuel and Jet A1 fuel in one of its engines.

April 17, 2012  By Carey Fredericks

The fuel was certified to the new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D7566/D1655 standard and the biofuel used was derived from the oilseed crops, Camelina sativa(i) (49 per cent) and Brassica carinata(i) (one per cent). The aircraft's other engine was powered by Jet A1 fuel. The flight included passengers making their way to Ottawa for business and pleasure, representatives from the biofuel test program's partnering organizations and media.

This is the final step in a two-year project whose key members are Targeted Growth, Bombardier Aerospace, Pratt and Whitney Canada, the manufacturer of the PW150A engines that power the Q400 aircraft, and Porter Airlines. Funding for the biofuel test program was provided by the key partners, as well as by Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) through the Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN).

Additional support to the program was provided by Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., which grew the carinata and produced the carinata bio-oil; Sustainable Oils, which crushed the camelina to make the camelina bio-oil; Honeywell UOP, which converted the bio-oils into the bio-derived jet fuel to meet the D7566 standard; and SkyNRG who were responsible for logistics and blending meeting the D1655 specification.

"In a fitting tribute to Earth Day 2012, which is now less than a week away, we are delighted that one of our Bombardier Q400 turboprops has become the first aircraft to successfully conduct a biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada," said Robert Deluce, President and Chief Executive Officer, Porter Airlines. "The use of biofuels promises to significantly reduce the level of emissions produced by commercial aircraft worldwide, and Porter is honoured to have contributed to this test program in Canada."


"The success of this biofuel test program, which utilized a Bombardier Q400 aircraft, speaks volumes about the ability of the aviation and other communities to work together towards producing a more sustainable aviation industry," said Helene V. Gagnon, Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Bombardier Aerospace. "But that's not the only milestone achieved today. This is the first time that a revenue flight in Canada was powered by biofuel, so we've achieved a first for Canada. "

"When this biofuel project was submitted in October 2010, the Private Sector Advisory Board, a strategic body comprised of respected Canadian industry leaders, approved it with complete confidence and praised it very high value added, world-class experts and very good focus," said Sylvain Cofsky, Executive Director of GARDN. "Eighteen months later, today's flight proves they were right and I am extremely proud of GARDN's contribution to this very promising success in the field of aviation."

"We are firmly committed to ensuring that our products are designed, produced and operated while minimizing environmental impacts throughout their life cycle, outperforming the most stringent ICAO standards," said Daniel Breitman, Vice President, Engine Development Programs, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "We have implemented new technologies to significantly reduce fuel consumption, environmental emissions and engine noise in our latest generation of engines and we are developing cutting-edge green technologies for the future, to help the aerospace industry reach its commitment of reducing its overall footprint."

"Targeted Growth was very pleased to be involved in this project," said Robert Woods, president, Targeted Growth. "Partnerships such as this one help demonstrate market confidence that spurs the critical research and development required to advance feedstock productivity."

On February 9, 2012, in preparation for Porter's revenue flight, Bombardier flew a Q400 turboprop test aircraft on the ASTM D7566/D1655 bio-derived jet fuel. This was the first such biofuel-powered test flight in Canada.


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