Bombardier Q400 plane to make first Canadian commercial flight on 49% Camelina + 1% ? GM brassica carinata

In mid-April, Porter Airlines plans to use one of its Bombardier 70- to 80-seat Q400 turboprop airliners to conduct the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada. It has already made a biofuel test flight.  Rather cynically they are timing their flight close to Earth Day “to emphasize the contribution that biofuels are expected to make in helping the aviation industry meet its targeted reduction in emissions,” and there are a lot of worthy-sounding green sentiments expressed about carbon savings …. the usual over-optimistic greenwash stuff. The fuel they will use will be 50% biofuel, and of that 49% camelina and 1% Brassica carinata (a member of the brassica family, similar to rape, and also called Ethiopian mustard).  Targeted Growth Canada (TGC) produced the crop of Camelina. The 1% Brassica carinata may be a GM crop, being grown in Canada. 


March 22, 2012 (Bombardier website)

Porter Airlines to Conduct Canada’s First Biofuel-Powered Revenue Flight

·   Flight to be scheduled just before Earth Day with a Bombardier Q400 turboprop

·   Preparatory test flight successfully flown by Bombardier in February 2012

In mid-AprilPorter Airlines plans to use one of its Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners to conduct the first biofuel-powered revenue flight in Canada. On February 9, 2012, in preparation for Porter’s upcoming flight, a Bombardier Q400 turboprop test aircraft became the first aircraft in Canada to fly on the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D7566 bio-derived jet fuel, which was recently certified.

“We are timing our biofuel-powered flight close to Earth Day to emphasize the contribution that biofuels are expected to make in helping the aviation industry meet its targeted reduction in emissions,” said Robert Deluce, President and Chief Executive Officer, Porter Airlines. “Q400and Q400 NextGen aircraft are already among the ‘greenest’ aircraft in the world and the use of biofuel will make the aircraft even more environmentally conscious.”

Porter’s biofuel-powered revenue flight will utilize a 50/50 blend of biofuel with Jet A1 fuel.The biofuel portion is derived from the oilseed crop,Camelina sativa* (49 per cent) and Brassica carinata* (one per cent). (see below)

“The two-hour preparatory flight was flawless and the bio-derived fuel  performed as expected,” said Mike Arcamone, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “During the flight, the Q400 aircraft successfully undertook several maneuvers including engine-out climbs, rapid engine accelerations and cruising to verify the performance of the aircraft while using the bio-derived fuel.”

Other key partners in the biofuel program, which was first announced in 2010, include Saskatchewan-based Targeted Growth Canada (TGC), the producer of the crop of Camelina sativa and Pratt & Whitney Canada, the manufacturer of thePW150A engines that power the Q400aircraft.  Funding for the program is being provided by the partners as well as by the Green Aviation Research & Development Network (GARDN).

Further details regarding Porter’s biofuel-powered revenue flight will be released in the coming weeks.

About Q400 aircraft

The Q400turboprop airliner, which is built at Bombardier’s Toronto, Ontario facility, is the advanced successor to Bombardier’s Dash 8/Q-Series family of aircraft. Optimized for short-haul operations, the “comfortably greener,” 70- to 80-seat Q400 aircraft is a large, fast, quiet and fuel-efficient turboprop. It provides an ideal balance of passenger comfort and operating economics with a reduced environmental footprint.

Setting new environmental standards, the Q400 aircraft uses 30 to 40 per cent less fuel and produces 30 to 40 per cent fewer emissions on routes where it has replaced similar-capacity, older jets. Overall, the Q400 aircraft is 15 decibels quieter than ICAO Chapter 4 noise standards; raising the bar for the entire industry.

More than 380 Q400 aircraft are in service with approximately 40 operatorsin 30 countries, on six continents. These aircrafthave transported more than 177 million passengers.

About Porter Airlines
Founded in 2006, Porter Airlines has revolutionized short-haul flying with a warm and effortless approach to hospitality and restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. An Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating® by Skytrax, and rated second in the world in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards Top Small Airlines category, Porter is committed to providing a premium travel experience. Complimentary amenities include luxurious airport lounges, Starbucks coffee, premium snacks, and wine or beer onboard.

The airline currently offers flights to Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, Moncton, Halifax, St. John’s, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Windsor, New York (Newark), Chicago (Midway), Boston (Logan), Washington, D.C., and has seasonal flights to Mt. Tremblant, Que., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Burlington, Vt. Visit or call (888) 619-8622 for more information.

GARDN – the Green Aviation Research and Development Network is a business–led Network of Centres of Excellence. Its mission is to promote aerospace technologies aimed at the protection of the environment. The seven themes of research targeted by GARDN are: noise and source emissions reduction, materials and manufacturing processes, airport and aircraft operations, alternative fuels and product lifecycle management. GARDN’s activities are in support of the competitive excellence of Canadian aerospace products and services, the economic success of the member companies as well as the development and training of highly qualified personnel.

About Bombardier
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, were $18.3 billion, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at www.bombardier.comor follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

*Camelina sativa and Brassica carinata are members of the family of flowering plants known as the Brassicaceae. The Brassicaceae also include well-known plants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.


Braccica carinata

It appears this plant is edible, and is eaten a lot in Ethiopia, for its leaves and for its seeds. Also called Ethiopian mustard.

It appears to be similar to rape which is Brassica napus



Jets test fuel from new oilseed

Carinata in mustard family.  Contracts designed to generate 5,000 to 10,000 acres this year

Jets are expected to make test flights this year using biofuel produced from Brassica carinata, a new oilseed in the mustard family grown in Western Canada last year.

The fuel will come from 50 acres of production last summer, but Agrisoma, the company advancing the crop and its industrial applications, plans to contract 5,000 to 10,000 acres this year.

Patrick Crampton, vice-president of business and product development for Agrisoma, told Saskatchewan mustard growers at Crop Production Week that processors tested seed from 2011.

The yellow coated, low fibre seed, also known as Ethiopian mustard, performed well at crushing plants. The oil was sent to interested aviation fuel makers.

“We are basically working with two of the major producers out there,” Crampton said.

“One is Honeywell-UOP, which has the current registered technology.… They just finished production last week and we are going to have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 800 to 1,000 litres of jet fuel produced.”

He expects test flights by military and commercial jets will be announced later this year.

“It is a key part of the development of a new market, where it is not just a new crop. It is an entirely new value chain.”

The oil is processed in a different way than for biodiesel and must produce jet fuel that is indistinguishable from the petroleum-based product to meet airline specifications.

The aviation industry is pursuing plant-based feedstocks for renewable fuels with a smaller carbon footprint.  Biofuel made from jatropha, camelina and animal fat are already undergoing flight tests.

Carinata’s oil is high in erucic acid ideal for industrial applications such as jet fuel.

The crop, which is native to Ethiopia, is suited to the hotter, drier areas of the Prairies and has been in Agriculture Canada research and breeding programs for more than a decade.

Carinata maturity was three weeks later than a mid-season Argentine canola [which we call rape in the UK] when scientists first started working with it, but they were able to reduce it to only five to seven days later.

Agrisoma, which has been co-operating with Agriculture Canada, the Plant Biotechnology Institute and the Mustard 21 project, will use its gene altering technology to enhance the oil profile and yield.

“The vision is to put the biotechnology in longer term, but we are focused on launching the conventional crop right now,” Crampton said.

“Even though it is an industrial crop, we know we need to pursue full food and safety registration for the GM product. We are committed to not jeopardizing other markets. The emerging low level presence legislation that is being developed worldwide is a key factor to that launch.”

Agrisoma will have contracts in a few weeks that are designed to attract 5,000 to 10,000 acres of production by 30 to 50 farmers.

It is working with Paterson Grain on the identity preserved closed loop contracts.

The payment will be $12.50 per bushel on farm plus an incentive of $40 per acre.

Last year it was grown in three Saskatchewan locations: Kincaid, Frontier and Scott.

“The small plot yield data shows the elite line we are bringing out is 15 to 20 percent higher yield than the oriental mustard checks,” Crampton said.

The crop’s commercial success will be enhanced if there is a market for the meal left over after crushing.

Traditional mustard types produce meal that has quality protein but suffers from high glucosinolate levels that hurt its use in livestock feed rations.

“Carinata is not truly a condiment type, spicy mustard. It is kind of midrange,” Crampton said.

“It is similar to what rapeseed originally was, which had 10 percent inclusion rates for a number of livestock species, so there is a fair bit of excitement for this meal.”