Safran Helicopter Engines has run a helicopter engine on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in a world first, at its Bordes facility in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. During the test a Makila 2 ran on biofuel produced by TotalEnergies from residues and waste, specifically used cooking oil.
A test will evaluate the operational impact of using only SAF on a helicopter engine. The engine manufacturer will use a Safran Tech special facility known as Bearcat, Banc d'Essai Avancé pour la Recherche en Combustion et Aérothermique des Turbomachines, an advanced test bench.
The first rescue helicopter to fly on 40% SAF was an Airbus H145 in June 2021, operated by ADAC Luftrettung. Safran engines are certified to operate with up to 50% SAF and with 100% incorporation the lower carbon footprint of these fuels will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%.
“After the first flight of a rescue helicopter using 40% SAF in June and the fuel's gradual introduction for engine tests at our sites, we are now taking a new step toward using fuel made entirely from renewable sources,” says Frank Saudo, Safran Helicopter Engines CEO. “These tests are a key step in the realisation of future test flights with our helicopter partners. By expanding the use of sustainable fuels among helicopter operators and at our sites, we will significantly reduce CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of our products.”
“By offering our customers like Safran sustainable aviation biofuels produced in France, we are meeting a strong demand from the aviation industry to reduce its carbon footprint,” Virginie Merini, senior vice president of renewable fuels at TotalEnergies says. “The development of biofuels is one of the main thrusts of TotalEnergies' multi-energy strategy to meet the challenge of decarbonising the transportation sector. This is fully in line with the company's climate change ambition of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.”