Canadian Manufacturing

Canada’s NRC teams with NASA to test alternative fuels in jet engines

Will "study atmospheric effects of emissions" produced by jet engines burning alternative fuels



OTTAWA—The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is hooking up with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to test the use of alternative fuels in jet engines.

According to the NRC, Canada’s federal research and technology organization, it will work with NASA to “study the atmospheric effects of emissions” produced by jet engines burning alternative fuels.

The department didn’t specify which fuels it would test in its work with the United States space agency.

“NRC is proud to take part in this international effort to understand the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels,” NRC aerospace general manager Jerzy Komorowski said in a statement.

“This work to investigate greener alternatives for aviation fuel benefits the aerospace industry in Canada and around the world.”

The joint work will see the NRC take part in NASA’s ACCESS II project, the Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions, beginning this month at NASA’s Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

The NRC said the work will include the deployment of its CT-133 research aircraft from the research centre near Edwards Airforce Base to nearby Palmdale, Calif.

The Canadian research jet will fly alongside aircraft from NASA and the German Aerospace Center, where it will obtain inflight airborne emission measurements and contrail characteristics from aircraft burning both conventional jet fuel and blended alternative fuels.

According to the NRC, the work on ACCESS-II will result in the collection of unique flight test data that will be shared and reported to the International Forum for Aviation Research.

The research will aid in the qualification and ready acceptance of the use of biofuels in aviation and open the door to future collaborations on alternative fuels tests.

“Partnering with our German and Canadian colleagues allows us to combine our expertise and resources as we work together to solve the challenges common to the global aviation community such as understanding emission characteristics from the use of alternative fuels which presents a great potential for significant reductions in harmful emissions,” NASA associate administrator for aeronautic research, Jaiwon Shin, said.

The work with NASA isn’t the NRC’s first foray into the use of biofuel in the aviation industry.

In October 2012, the NRC flew the first civil jet powered by 100 per cent unblended biofuel, and in March of this year the department flew its Falcon aircraft on a 50/50 biofuel blend.

“The results from our historic civil 100 per cent biofuel flight showed that an unblended biofuel was cleaner than conventional Jet A1 fuel, without sacrificing efficiency,” the NRC’s Komorowski said.

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