Airbus, Safran, Dassault Aviation, ONERA and Ministry of Transport are to join together for an in-flight study to analyse the compatibility of unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with single-aisle aircraft and commercial aircraft engine and fuel systems.

The flight, which will be made at the end of 2021, will be made with the support of the “Plan de relance aéronautique” (the French government aviation recovery plan) managed by Jean Baptiste Djebbari, French Transport Minister.

The project, known as VOLCAN (VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux) will mark the first time that in-flight emissions will be measured using 100 per cent SAF in a single-aisle aircraft and also analyse compatibility with helicopter engines.

Airbus will analyse emissions impact

Airbus is responsible for characterising and analysing the impact of 100 per cent SAF on-ground and in-flight emissions using an A320neo test aircraft powered by a CFM LEAP-1A engine. Safran will focus on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and engine adaptation for commercial and helicopter aircraft and their optimisation for various types of 100 per cent SAF fuels.

ONERA will support Airbus and Safran in analysing the compatibility of the fuel with aircraft systems and will be in charge of preparing, analysing and interpreting test results for the impact of 100 per cent SAF on emissions and contrail formation. In addition, Dassault Aviation will contribute to the material and equipment compatibility studies and verify 100 per cent SAF biocontamination susceptibility. SAFs used for the VOLCAN project will be provided by TotalEnergies.

This study will also support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Safran to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale deployment and use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonise the industry. It will also contribute to the ultimate goal of achieving 100 per cent SAF certification in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.

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