Safran Helicopter Engines is joining a diversified academic, industry, and government group to study the feasibility of producing aviation biofuels in southwest France. The company had previously committed to making its engines compatible with “green” fuels in the 2030 to 2035 time frame. Group members have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to evaluate local skills and capabilities in the agricultural, chemical, and energy sectors required to produce and distribute aviation biofuels.
“Safran is committed to an industry that treats the environment with greater respect,” said Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines. “Success in this ecological transition will evolve from expertise in several technologies.” He added that the company is exploring several enabling technologies, including hybrid-electric power, optimized turboshaft designs, and alternative fuels. “Our ambition to create this local biofuel source will satisfy the latter objective. And our engine test facilities will help us develop even more advanced alternative fuels,” Saudo said.
LOI signatories include agriculture and chemical companies Euralis, Teréga, ACD (Aquitaine Chimie Durable), Chemparc, Agri Sud Ouest Innovation; forest products concern Xylofutur; the Chamber of Commerce of Pau Béarn; the Pau and Pays de l'Adour University; and the Aerospace Valley consortium.