India’s first Biofuel Flight

Why in News?

  • India has now joined the small league of nations with the US and Australia to have flown a biofuel-powered aircraft.
  • The Spicejet flight, featuring a latest generation Q400 aircraft, had been flagged off from the Dehradun airport to New Delhi.

Significance of the move:

  • The experiment is first-of-its-kind in India. With this, India joins the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation.
  • Its successful implementation provides a significant boost to encourage alternative fuels in transport and aviation sector, as envisaged in the National Biofuel’s Policy.
  • India has been attempting to promote biofuels to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. The environment-friendly initiative is expected to reduce the country’s import bills.
  • The biofuel was developed by Indian Institute of Petroleum- Dehradun.

Usage of Biofuels on flights:

  • The use of bio jet fuel, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99 percent, is expected to provide indigenous jet fuel supply security, possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up, superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators.
  • Biofuel flights could make air travel cleaner and more efficient, thus drastically reducing the cost of airline operations by reducing the dependency on aviation turbine fuel.
  • The biofuel is made partially from renewable resources such as agricultural residues, non-edible oils and bio-degradable fractions of industrial and municipal wastes.


  • The genesis of this development goes back several years to an Indo-Canadian consortium project from 2010 to 2013 involving CSIR-IIP, Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore, in which research was directed towards the production of Bio-aviation fuel by CSIR-IIP from jatropha oil and its evaluation under various conditions.
  • The test culminated in a detailed engine test by Pratt and Whitney in Canada that showed fitness for purpose.
  • Spicejet and Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development Authority, which supplied the jatropha oil for the flight after sourcing from over 500 farmers, received considerable policy and regulatory support from the MOPNG Working Group on Biofuels and the Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) in making the flight happen.
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