An experimental and theoretical investigation was undertaken to identify and evaluate the key technical issues surrounding the ‘drop-in’ utilisation of alternative bio-fuels in aviation gas-turbine propulsion systems. Region-suitable biofuels were identified and suitability evaluated based on the following three criteria: ‘drop-in’ capability, environmental and economic sustainability and industrialisation prospects. Bio-fuel engine performance will be evaluated based on the specific fuel consumption, specific thrust, nature and quantity of emissions through theoretical modelling. This paper outlines a variety of different bio-fuel type options that were investigated. By using engineering and scientific methodology the fuels were evaluated to verify their suitability for gas-turbine aviation use. The eventual bio-fuel selected for further evaluation was a locally produced mustard seed oil derivative bio-fuel which was blended at various blend ratios with standard Jet A-1 turbine fuel. Verification testing processes for future investigation are detailed. In addition to engine performance evaluation endeavours, this paper also seeks to address and offer recommendations in the areas of bio-fuel production, transport, storage, certification and emissions.

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