In partnership with Dassault Aviation, ONERA, the French Ministry of Transports and Safran, Airbus has launched a first inflight study of a single-aisle aircraft running on 100 percent unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
On Friday (October 29, 2021), Airbus announced the completion of the first A319neo flight test using 100 percent unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The flight test, which took place over the Toulouse region on Thursday (October 28, 2021), was conducted in partnership with Dassault Aviation, ONERA, the French Ministry of Transports and Safran. During the flight, one of the A319neo's CFM LEAP-1A engines operated on 100 Percent SAF. The initial results from the ground and flight tests are expected to be released in 2022. The unblended SAF was provided by Total Energies and is made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), which primarily consists of used cooking oil and other waste fats. HEFA is made of paraffinic hydrocarbons and is free of aromatics and sulfur. Approximately 57 tons of SAF will be used for the test campaign, with the fuel being produced in Normandy, close to Le Havre.
In collaboration with DLR, Airbus is responsible for characterizing and analyzing the impact of 100 percent SAF on ground and inflight emissions. Safran will focus on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and adaptation for commercial aircraft and helicopters, and their optimization for various types of 100 percent SAF fuels. Safran will perform LEAP engine tests with 100 percent SAF at their Villaroche facilities later this year to complete the analysis. ONERA is supporting Airbus and Safran in analyzing the fuel compatibility with aircraft systems and will be in charge of the preparation, analysis and interpretation of test results for the impact of 100 percent SAF on emissions and contrail formation. Finally, Dassault Aviation will contribute to the material and equipment compatibility studies, as well as verifying 100 percent SAF biocontamination susceptibility.
The study, known as ‘VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux’ (VOLCAN), will contribute to global decarbonization efforts and is benefiting from financing by the France Relance recovery plan, which has been implemented by DGAC under the supervision of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transports. Ultimately, the goal of the study is to promote large-scale deployment and use of SAF, including the certification of 100 percent SAF for use in single-aisle commercial aircraft and new generation business jets.