IAF plane takes to the air on blended bio-fuel

Prelims level : Environment – Pollution Control Mains level :
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  • For the first time, an An-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew with blended bio-jet fuel produced from Jatropha oil, unlocking the possibility of gradually expanding it to the entire service at some point.


  • The Indian Air Force flew its military aircraft successfully using a mix of biofuel and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) (a mix of 10 per cent bio-jet fuel produced from Jatropha and 90 per cent ATF)
  • This has the dual benefit of reducing the carbon footprint as well as usage of fossil fuels.
  • With this India has thus joined a league of select nations to have “developed, tested and certified” a single step Hydro-processed Renewable Jet (HRJ) process to convert non-edible oil into biofuel for use on military aircraft.

About bio-fuel:

  • Biofuel is a hydrocarbon fuel produced from organic matter.

Generation of biofuels:

  • First Generation biofuels are produced directly from food crops by abstracting the oils for use in biodiesel or producing bioethanol through fermentation. Crops such as wheat and sugar are the most widely used feedstock for bioethanol while oil seed rape has proved a very effective crop for use in biodiesel.
  • Second Generation biofuels are produced from non-food crops such as wood, organic waste, food crop waste and specific biomass crops. Cellulosic ethanol technology fits in here, as do non-food crop technologies such as jatropha-based biofuels.
  • Third Generation of biofuels is based on improvements in the production of biomass. It takes advantage of specially engineered energy crops such as algae as its energy source. The algae are cultured to act as a low-cost, high-energy and entirely renewable feedstock. It is predicted that algae will have the potential to produce more energy per acre than conventional crops.
  • Fourth Generation Biofuels are aimed at not only producing sustainable energy but also a way of capturing and storing co2.
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