Austria-based HEMS operator ÖAMTC Air Rescue is to introduce the use of SAF in its Arrius 2B2-powered Airbus H135 fleet, with the help of engine OEM Safran Helicopter Engines. By summer 2022, one HEMS helicopter should be ready to use 30 to 50 per cent biofuel. Later, depending on the R&D results, the operator plans to introduce SAF at all its bases. In a second phase, the partners will look at using 100 per cent SAF, as well as innovative fuels such as efuels.
ÖAMTC Air Rescue CEO Marco Trefanitz comments: “We are pleased to collaborate with Safran Helicopter Engines on introducing SAF and, in particular, to be the first to use it on a Arrius 2B2-powered fleet. SAF is key to reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet. Our long experience with the engine and the certified technicians at our maintenance centre, Helikopter Air Transport (HeliAir) will support this R&D activity. Another key factor will be the economics; right now the production of SAF is very costly and prices are high for the end user.”
Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Franck Saudo adds: “This partnership is another important step in contributing to the development of SAF, and we are particularly pleased to collaborate with ÖAMTC in introducing biofuel on an Arrius-powered fleet. The use of sustainable fuels by operators and at our sites contributes to reducing CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of our products.”
The first ÖAMTC helicopter SAF-powered flight is planned for next year. Pilot and MD Reinhard Kraxner notes: “Sustainability is one of the most important topics of our time, especially for us, with public health as our core task. That's why we are already planning for tomorrow by successively renewing our fleet and, at the same time, working with our partners on the widespread use of sustainable fuels.”
Safran is committed to assisting operators transition to SAF. Its engines are already certified to operate on up to 50 per cent sustainable fuels. From December, the company will be undertaking a pilot project with German air rescue operator ADAC Luftrettung to investigate the long term effects of bio-kerosene on its Airbus H145 technology. The blending ratio of biofuel will be gradually increased to up to 100 per cent and if successful, the new fuel will be used across ADAC’s fleet.
Last September, Safran conducted a ground test campaign of a Safran Makila 2 engine using 100 per cent biofuel, and more recently, an Airbus H225 flew with a Makila 2 engine powered with 100 per cent biofuel.