• Dassault Aviation

1st A319neo flight takes off with 100% sustainable aviation fuel


Photo: Airbus

Airbus, Dassault Aviation, ONERA, the French Ministry of Transports, and Safran have launched the first in-flight study of a single-aisle aircraft running on unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).


During the flight test over the Toulouse region Oct. 28, one CFM LEAP-1A engine of an Airbus A319neo test aircraft operated on 100 percent SAF. Initial results from the ground and flight tests are expected in 2022.


The unblended SAF is provided by Total Energies. It is made from used cooking oil and other waste fats converted into hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA). HEFA is made of paraffinic hydrocarbons and is free of aromatics and sulfur. Approximately 57 metric tons of SAF will be used for the entire test campaign. It is produced in Normandy close to Le Havre, France. The 100 percent SAF will also be utilized for compatibility and engine-operability studies on the Safran Helicopters Arrano engine used on the Airbus Helicopters H160, which are expected to start in 2022.


Airbus, in collaboration with DLR, is responsible for characterizing and analyzing the impact of 100 percent SAF on ground and in-flight emissions. Safran focuses on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and engine adaptation for commercial and helicopter aircraft and their optimization for various types of 100 percent SAF fuels. Safran will perform LEAP engine ground tests with 100 percent SAF at its Villaroche facilities later this year to complete analysis. ONERA is supporting Airbus and Safran in analyzing the compatibility of the fuel with aircraft systems and will be in charge of preparing, analyzing, and interpreting test results for the impact of 100 percent SAF on emissions and contrail formation. Dassault Aviation is contributing to the material and equipment compatibility studies and verifying 100 percent SAF biocontamination susceptibility.


The study—known as VOLCAN (VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux)—contributes to global decarbonization 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 decarbonization 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 percent SAF for use in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.

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