BY SCOTT LARSON, POSTMEDIA NEWS MAY 8, 2012
SASKATOON - The skies over Ottawa are rumbling with the sound of a mid-sized business jet that's propelled by the product of Saskatchewan fields.
Researchers are test-flying a Dassault Falcon 20 plane that burns a biofuel blend derived from modified seeds of the Ethiopian mustard plant, Brassica carinata.
The experiment could result in a more sustainable jet fuel for the world, and bring additional revenues to Prairie farmers.
The project is a collaboration among Agrisoma Biosicences Inc., the National Research Council (NRC), Honeywell UOP Inc. and Saskatoon's Genome Prairie-led Prairie Gold project.
Brassica carinata is drought and heat tolerant and can be grown in areas not suited for canola, said Mejda Lortie, Agrisoma's director of regulatory and government affairs.
The company's variety of the plant, branded Resonance, is an oil feedstock that was grown near Kincaid, Sask., in the summer of 2011.
"It is a tough cookie," she said. "It can grow in poorer soils or soil that doesn't have the characteristics that would support, for example, canola production."
Doug Heath, project manager with Genome Prairie, said Brassica carinata and another plant, Camalina sativa, are being developed for industrial uses.