GKN to test 50/50 biofuel on Gripen engine


GKN Aerospace Sweden is to continue testing an alcohol-based biofuel in the RM12 engine used in the Gripen jet fighter as part of a seven year joint study between the Swedish defence Material Administration, the US Air Force and US Navy.

FMV (Swedish Defence Materiel Administration) has contracted GKN Aerospace Sweden to continue testing of the ATJ (alcohol to jet) fuel, which is made Swedish Biofuels AB, in the RM12 engine. The joint project which started in October 2013 will be completed before the end of this year.

The test, which will be performed in a test cell, will give more in-depth information to see potential differences in engine data compared to earlier flight test results with this 50/50 biofuel mix. It will also demonstrate the capability of the engine test cells, such as flexibility in its measurement systems and feeding fuel to the engine.

Stefan Oscarsson, vice president for government and space programs at GKN Aerospace said, “This FMV contract will help us build understanding and in depth data, and takes us a further step towards sustainable aviation together with FMV. It’s an exciting milestone in a key growth area for GKN Aerospace.”

In March 2017 a Gripen fighter with an RM12 engine completed a successful flight demonstration powered by 100% renewable Biofuel. The biofuel used in 2017 was developed by the US company ARA on a USN/NAVAIR contract, and was fully interchangeable with normal jet fuel and approved for a limited flight test. No engine changes or modifications were required for this demonstration.

GKN Aerospace Sweden is Type Certificate holder for the RM12 engine and has reviewed fuel specifications and material compatibility for all fuel-wetted components in the engine to ensure safe engine operation during this test.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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