India on Monday would join the elite club of nations who have operated a flight on alternative energy source like biofuel.
According to a ToI report, SpiceJet is planning to operate a flight from Dehradun to Delhi using biofuel, which would be first such experiment in India. While developed countries like Canada, Australia and US have already conducted these test flights, India would be the first developing nation to experiment that.
The objective is to make air travel economical and bring some respite to the airlines reeling under high fuel price through the use of alternate fuel, insiders in the aviation industry said. Aviation leaders are a worried lot over the rising fuel costs and have demanded the government bring Aviation Turbine Fuel under GST.
Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor said in a tweet today that aviation in India is not for the “weak-kneed” while expressing concern over the domestic aviation fuel rates.
“Domestic aviation fuel (ATF) rates ex-DEL are now 97% higher (ie almost double) the low it hit in Feb 2016, and less than 10% short of highest ever it hit in 2014. Average fares are however down at least 40% from 2014! Aviation in India not an industry for the weakkneed,” he said.
As per ToI report, the airline plans to first operate a small test flight of 10 minutes over Dehradun. Based on the result of test flight, second flight will later take off to Delhi. The test flight will be attended by several regulatory agencies including DGCA, civil aviation ministry and the airline officials.
Biofuel, produced from vegetable oils, recycled grease, algae, and animal fat, is an alternative fuel that can be used as an alternative in place of fossil fuels.
In January this year, the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight took off from Los Angeles to Melbourne. According to some estimates, biofuel has the potential to reduce the aviation carbon emissions by up to 80 percent. Global association of airlines International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a goal to cut carbon emissions for the industry by 50 per cent by 2050.
India, being a net importer of fossil fuels, is making efforts to reduce its dependence on oil imports. India imports nearly 20 per cent every year to meet its energy demand. This leads to heavy foreign funds outflows and currency fluctuation uncertainties.
To reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, India is trying to promote biofuels. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently released “National Policy on Biofuels 2018”, under which it plans to triple ethanol production over the next four years. This will help India to reduce the oil import bill by nearly Rs 12,000 crore. The government has set a target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol in petrol by 2030.