Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Onera, the French Ministry of Transport, and Safran have launched the first in-flight study of a single-aisle aircraft running on unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), Airbus said on Friday. The study aims to promote the large-scale deployment and use of SAF and certification of 100 percent SAF for use in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.
During the flight test over the Toulouse region of France on Thursday, one CFM LEAP-1A engine of an Airbus A319neo test aircraft operated on 100 percent SAF. The partners expect initial results from the ground and flight tests next year.
Paris-based TotalEnergies provided the unblended SAF, which was made outside Le Harve, France, from hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) that primarily consist of used cooking oil and other waste fats.
Some 57 tonnes of SAF will be used for the entire test campaign. The partners also plan to use the 100 percent SAF for compatibility and engine operability studies that are scheduled to start in 2022 on the Safran Helicopters Arrano engine on the Airbus Helicopters H160.
Airbus, in collaboration with German research center DLR, carries responsibility for characterizing and analyzing the effect of 100 percent SAF on ground and in-flight emissions. Safran focuses on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and engine adaptation for commercial and helicopter aircraft and their optimization for various types of SAF. The engine company will perform CFM Leap engine ground tests with 100 percent SAF at its Villaroche facilities later this year to complete the analysis. Onera supports Airbus and Safran in analyzing the compatibility of the fuel with aircraft systems and has taken charge of preparing, analyzing, and interpreting test results for the impact of 100 percent SAF on emissions and contrail formation. Dassault Aviation is contributing to the material and equipment compatibility studies and verifying 100 percent SAF biocontamination susceptibility.
The study—known as Volcan (VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux)—benefits from financing provided by the part of the France Relance recovery plan dedicated to the decarbonization of aviation and implemented by DGAC under the supervision of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, the French transport minister.