Agrisoma helps power first biofuel flight

Courtney Symons
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The results are in from the world’s first civil flight powered by 100-per-cent biofuel, and they surprised even the Ottawa-based company that’s part of the team behind it.

The National Research Council of Canada’s Falcon 20 will be the World’s first civil aircraft to fly with 100 per cent bio jet fuel.

Agrisoma Biosciences’ oilseed crop was used for the flight that was part of a program funded by the National Research Council of Canada. That flight proved to be cleaner than and as efficient as a trip using conventional aviation fuel, according to results collected by the NRC.

Aerosol emissions decreased by 50 per cent and black carbon emissions dropped by 49 per cent when using biofuel compared to conventional fuel.

Additionally, results showed a comparable engine performance but an improvement of 1.5 per cent in fuel consumption.

The results floored even the president and CEO of Agrisoma, Steven Fabijanski.

“We expected a reasonable reduction, but we didn’t expect the reduction to be to that extent,” he said. “We were pleasantly surprised about the reduction.”

The information was collected during the flight which took place on Oct. 29, and was analyzed by a team of experts, according to a release from the NRC.

A Falcon 20 aircraft flew at 30,000 feet, similar to regular commercial aircraft altitude. A second aircraft, the T-33, tailed the Falcon in flight to measure engine emissions.

The jet’s engines required no modification for the flight, as the biofuel met the specifications of petroleum-based fuels.

Applied Research Associates – an Albuquerque, N.M. headquartered clean-tech firm with an office in Toronto – turned Agrisoma’s oilseed crop into biofuel. The crop, called Brassica carinata, carries the brand name Resonance.

Agrisoma, an agricultural biotechnology company, is headquartered in Ottawa and grows its crops in western Canada.

Organizations: National Research Council of Canada, Research Associates

Geographic location: Albuquerque, N.M., Toronto, Ottawa Canada

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