Agrisoma, NRC complete flight using 100 percent biojet

By Erin Voegele | October 31, 2012

Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. and the National Research Council of Canada have successfully completed the world’s first civil jet flight powered by 100 percent drop-in biofuel. The fuel was manufactured from Resonance Energy Feedstock produced by Agrisoma, the operating subsidiary of Calyx Bio-Ventures Inc. Resonance is brassica carinata, an oilseed commonly known as Ethiopian mustard. Applied Research Associates’ Isconversion Process was employed to convert the Resonance feedstock into biobased jet fuel. The resulting biojet was used to fuel NRC’s Falcon 20 jet.

"Today, I flew the world’s first 100 percent biofuel flight," said Tim Leslie, one of NRC’s pilots. "We have been working hard with our partners for many months, and it is most rewarding to see it all come together. It is truly inspiring to take this step towards an eco-friendly future."

As part of the test flight, a second aircraft, the T-33, tailed the Falcon in flight to collect emissions data. Researchers at the NRC will analysis the data to better understand the emission profile of the fuel and the environmental impacts of biofuels. Preliminary results are expected to be released later this year.

To date, Resonance feedstock has been produced by more than 40 commercial growers in Western Canada. According to information released by Agrisoma, the company intends to significantly expand commercial production in the 2013 growing season. Agrisoma is also demonstrating the potential of the oilseed in the U.S.

“We are extremely pleased to see the world’s first petroleum free flight segment successfully flown yesterday with Agrisoma's Resonance Energy Feedstock. This flight was possible due to the combined strategic effort of all the partners involved," said Hugh Notman, president and CEO of Calyx. "We also look forward to receiving the emissions data in the coming weeks, which were taken in real time during the flight, to demonstrate the sustainability of Resonance Energy Feedstock.”

Sustainable Development Technology Canada has spoken out to congratulate Agrisoma and its partners on the historic flight. The SDTC supported the development of Resonance through $2.5 million in funding. Specifically, the funding was used to develop a new crop technology called Engineered Trait Loci, which was issued to identify and combine specific traits in the crop to maximize oil yields.

“This is a world-first and a major step forward for global green aviation,” said Vicky Sharpe, president and CEO of SDTC.  “This is another excellent example of how Government of Canada investments in Canadian clean technology research creates commercially viable, leading-edge sustainable solutions.”