Canada Conducts Real-time Biofuel Tests with Falcon 20

 - July 10, 2012, 2:47 PM

Canada’s National Research Council has been flight-testing its Dassault Falcon 20 fueled by biofuel while sampling the exhaust using a probe fitted to a Lockheed T-33 chase plane, the group announced this week at the Farnborough Airshow. NRC believes the exercise to be a world first.

The flights took place over the past two months and pushed the mix 10 percent beyond the certified 50/50 blend of fossil fuel and the biofuel, which is produced from a new, domestically grown feedstock crop derived from Brassica carinata, basically a “hardy weed,” and optimized for aviation use by Agrisoma Biosciences. Flights at an even split and at a ratio of 60-percent bio and 40-percent fossil were made under various conditions.

The T-33 pilots took up formation on the Falcon to position the old trainer’s wing-mounted sensor pods in the slipstream of the Falcon. Preliminary results of the sampling indicate that “particulate emissions, including aerosols of black carbon, sulphates and byproducts of the combustion of aromatic compounds, are significantly lower from biofuels than from jet-A1.” A spokesman also said the performance of the Falcon 20 operating on biofuels was essentially the same as operations under jet-A on the ground, in cruise and during in-flight engine restarts.