State-owned aircraft manufacturer Indonesian Aerospace (PTDI) has successfully flown its CN-235 turboprop aircraft using biofuel.

The company says in a press release that a series of technical tests were conducted from 9 September to 6 October between Bandung and Jakarta using its Indonesian Aerospace CN 235-220 flying test bed aircraft that was fueled by a Bioavtur J2.4 biofuel blend.

PTDI says the flight test was done to determine the impact of the biofuel blend on the aircraft’s GE CT7 turboprop engines. It says the fuel tank in the right-wing was filled with the biofuel blend. The fuel tank on the left wing was filled only using Jet A1 aviation fuel.

Bioavtur is a biofuel blend jointly developed by Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas company Pertamina and the Bandung Institute of Technology. The fuel is a blend of Jet A1 aviation fuel while 2.4% consists of refined, bleached and degummed palm kernel oil using a catalyst, says PTDI.

The press release says the engine performance and indicators in the cockpit show similarities between the usage of Jet A1 and J2.4 fuel. The aircraft made flights at an altitude of 10,000ft (3,048m) and 16,000ft, it says.

PTDI says the results provide important data for the authorities, namely the Directorate of Airworthiness and Aircraft Operations, Directorate General of Air Transportation and Indonesian Military Airworthiness Authority.

The CN-235 is primarily a military transport aircraft, but in Indonesia it has also been used for commercial flights.

Gita Amperiawan, PTDI director of commerce, technology and development, says the J2.4 Bioavtur blend performed as expected, illustrating there are no significant differences as compared to the Jet A1 aviation fuel.

“It is relatively safe and we hope that in the future there will be an increase in the percentage of biofuel in avtur mixture [beyond 2.4%], although long-term research is still needed on the use of Bioavtur in engine components and aircraft fuel systems,” he notes.

PTDI says the flight’s success is the initial stage in increasing the contribution of biofuels in the transportation sector, particularly air travel which could in turn boost national energy security and independence.

It says the use of Bioavtur is one of the strategies the government is deploying to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy.

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