Industry Airbus performs first A319neo flight with 100% SAF

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has performed a first flight with the Airbus A319neo on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

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Together with Safran, Dassault Aviation, the French Ministry of Transports and ONERA, Airbus has brought the first A319neo aircraft with Sustainable Aviation Fuel to the skies. It was the first flight of a new in-flight study of a single-aisle aircraft running on SAF.

For the flight, one of the CFM LEAP-1A engines was running on 100% SAF. The companies will now work on analysing results of the flight. According to the manufacturer, initial results from ground and flight tests could be expected as soon as next year.

In the research department, Airbus is responsible to analyse the impact of 100% SAF on ground and in-flight emissions. The manufacturer will work in collaboration with DLR. Safran will develop compatibility studies for the fuel system and engine adaption. Results could be important for commercial aircraft and helicopters in the future. For this, Safran will perform tests with LEAP engines at their facilities in Villaroche.

ONERA is supporting Airbus and Safran in analysing the results from the flight and the ground tests. The company´s task in the project is it, to interpret the test results of 100% SAF flights on emissions and contrail formation. Dassault Aviation is bringing the material and equipment compatibility studies to verify 100% SAF biocontamination susceptibility.

The SAF is provided by Total Energies and is unblended. It is produced from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), which mainly consist of used cooking oil and other waste fats. For the whole flight test campaign, the companies need 57 tonnes of SAF. In 2022, Airbus Helicopters and Safran will be using SAF on the Airbus Helicopters H160, for which this blend will also be applicable.

Regarding the whole study, known as VOLCAn, Airbus stated: “[It] contributes to global decarbonisation efforts currently underway across the entire aeronautical industry, and is benefiting from a financing of the France Relance recovery plan, the part thereof dedicated to the decarbonisation of aviation, which is implemented by DGAC under the supervision of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transports. The study’s ultimate goal is to promote the large-scale deployment and use of SAF, and certification of 100% SAF for use in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.“

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