GreenFlight Continues Jet Biofuel Testing

 - June 17, 2008, 11:07 AM

Apopka, Fla.-based GreenFlight International continues to refine its “first generation” biofuel for jets and plans to conduct the first biofuel transcontinental flight using this blend within the next 60 days, company founder Douglas Rodante told AIN. In October, the firm completed an experimental test flight using an Aero Vodochody L-29 burning “recycled fast-food vegetable oil,” which Rodante said was undesirable since the blend could not be controlled. Now he’s running an L-29 Motorlet M701 engine on a ground test stand with different blends of soy and animal-fat oils to find the cleanest-burning jet fuel that meets ASTM standards. Once Rodante finishes these tests, he and chief pilot Carol Sugars will fly the L-29 from Reno, Nev., to Florida, with a possible stop in Oshkosh, Wis., for EAA AirVenture. Longer term, Rodante is working to develop a “second generation” biofuel jet-A alternative derived from algae. He’ll then use this fuel blend to fly a business jet around the world. Rodante’s goal is to develop an algae-based biofuel with a “neutral carbon impact,” meaning the carbon dioxide absorbed during the algae’s growth would equal the CO2 output from fuel processing, transporting and burning.