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Use of bio-fuel in military aircraft cleared; IAF to start with transport aircraft

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NEW DELHI (PTI): In a significant move, the use of indigenously produced bio-fuel for military aircraft has been cleared after months of exhaustive ground and flight trials, officials said Thursday.

The Indian Air Force is expected to use bio fuel for its transport fleet and helicopters following the clearance given by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).

"The indigenously produced bio-fuel has been finally cleared for use by the premier airworthiness certification agency of the country," a senior defence ministry official said.

An IAF official said the approval will enable the force to fulfil its commitment to fly the maiden IAF An-32 aircraft on January 26 with a blend of bio-jet fuel.

The defence ministry said to use bio-jet fuel on all military and civilian aircraft, Bureau of Indian Standards has in collaboration with IAF, research organisations and the industry brought out a new standard for Aviation Turbine Fuels.

"These specifications will align Indian standards with current international standards," it said, adding a committee was constituted with domain experts which was tasked to come out with required standards.

"After a series of deliberations over the past nine months, an Indian Standard IS 17081:2019 Aviation Turbine Fuel (Kerosene Type, Jet A-1) containing Synthesised Hydrocarbons, has been formulated," the ministry said.

The clearance is a major step for continued testing and eventual full certification of the bio-jet fuel for use on a commercial scale by civil aircraft, said the IAF official.

In a meeting on Tuesday, the CEMILAC deliberated in detail the results of various checks and tests conducted on bio-jet fuel as per procedure recommended by top national and international certification agencies, the official said.

"On being completely satisfied with the performance parameters, the agency has formally granted its approval for use of this fuel, produced from non-conventional sources such as non-edible vegetable/ tree borne oil to be used on military aircraft," the defence ministry said.

The bio-jet fuel has been produced from seeds of Jatropha plant sourced from Chhattisgarh.

"Increased demand of bio-jet fuel would give impetus to increase in collection of tree-borne non-edible oil seeds, which, in turn, will help generate ancillary income, increase remuneration for tribal and marginal farmers, and enthuse cultivation/ collection of oilseeds," said the ministry.

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