By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief
So far, most of the emphasis on biofuels and synthetic jet fuels has been on the heavy hitters, airlines and military. Pratt and Whitney Canada, whose engines power a big percentage of the small jets and turboprops in service, is evaluating the use of "second generation" biofuels that don't compete with food production. The most promising of these, to date, are jatropha, a succulent plant that will grow in the poorest, driest soil in the harshest climates and deliver about 10 times as much fuel as irrigated, fertilized and pesticide-intensive corn (about 800 liters per acre) as well as algae from the sea. "Already a leader in green technologies for small aviation engines, we aim to have a fuel-flexible engine and to develop technologies that will allow us to offer aircraft manufacturers innovative and green power solutions," said Walter Di Bartolomeo, vice president - Engineering, P&WC."
PW&C is the leading partner in a project joingly funded with the Canadian government's International Science and Technology Patnerships Program. Two Indian oil companies are also involves as are McGill University, Laval University, Ryerson Polytechnic, the National Research Council of Canada and Indian Institute of Technology.