Williams Tests Alternative Fuel FJ44 Engine

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Williams International announced Friday that it has completed "extended testing" that burned 2,000 gallons of "coal-based alternative fuel" in a Williams FJ44-3 gas turbine engine. The test engine endured 118 cycles and 21 hours of operation and "performed extremely well," showing performance numbers that were "identical" to its Jet-A burning counterparts, according to the company. Further, the test engine required no modifications for the demonstration, which Williams says "validates the flexibility" of the FJ44 in its ability to operate with different compounds created from alternative processes. The fuel used in the tests was developed at Penn State University in cooperation with Intertek-PARC and Duquesne University. It was "essentially free" of sulfur and nitrogen while retaining a higher energy density than Jet-A, which may translate to longer-range flights. Williams is using the test both to promote the "robust" nature of the FJ44 and also the company's participation in alternative fuel development.

Williams FJ44-series engines power Cessna CJ2+, CJ3 and Beechcraft Premier II aircraft and are also a popular choice for re-engine projects for older aircraft seeking to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Moving forward, Williams has specific plans that "include emissions and smoke measurement testing" as well as engine testing of alternative and second-generation biofuels. The process employed for the test fuel was developed for coal, but may also be adapted to use "renewable feedstocks" like waste biomass and municipal solid waste. It is hoped the process could lend itself also to the adaptation of algae as a fuel source, and thereby remove any competition with food sources.