Biofuel Policy

Biojet fuel that powered the IAF aircraft


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : An-32, Biojet Fuel

Mains level : Biojet Fuel and its feasiblity


In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address, PM hailed the use of biofuel in an Indian Air Force transport aircraft.

What did PM cite?

  • IAF’s An-32 aircraft successfully used a 10% blend of Indian biojet fuel and took off from Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport on January 31.
  • This was the first time that this mix was used in both engines of an aircraft.
  • Leh is at an altitude of 10,682 ft above mean sea level and is among the world’s highest and most difficult operational airfields.
  • Even during clear weather, operating an aircraft at Leh is a challenge, given the reduced power output of the engines in the rarefied atmosphere, turbulent winds, and proximity of the mountains.

What is Biojet fuel?

  • Biojet fuel is prepared from “non-edible tree borne oil” and is procured from various tribal areas of India.
  • This fuel is made from Jatropha oil sourced from Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA) and then processed at CSIR-IIP, Dehradun.
  • Generally, it is made from vegetable oils, sugars, animal fats and even waste biomass, and can be used in existing aviation jet engines without modification.
  • Jatropha oil is suitable for conversion to jet fuel. This biojet fuel has received wide acceptance from the airline industry.

Why it matters?

  • Evaluating the performance of biojet fuel under conditions prevalent in Leh was considered extremely important from an operational perspective.
  • The success of the flight validated the capability of the aircraft’s engines to operate smoothly with biojet fuel at the extremities of the operational envelope.
  • The tests were conducted by a team comprising test pilots from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Bengaluru and pilots from the operational squadrons.
  • The successful test flight also demonstrated the IAF’s capability to absorb newer technology, while sponsoring indigenization.

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