MIAMI – Airbus, Safran, Dassault Aviation, ONERA (Office National d’Etudes et de Recherche Aerospatiales-National Office for Study and Research on Aerospace), and the French Ministry of transportation, have joined forces on an in-flight study on an unblended Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) fueled single-aisle aircraft, using commercial engines and fuel systems.
According to an Airbus release, the flight, which is part of the VOLCAN (VOL Avec Carburant Alternatifs Nouveaux-Flight using New Alternative Fuel) project, is made possible within the framework of the “Plan de Relance Aeronautique,” the French Government-sponsored aviation recovery plan.
As such, it will constitute the first-ever in-flight measurement of emissions by a single-aisle aircraft using 100% unblended SAF.
The A320neo, Teams
The aircraft used for this experimental flight will be an Airbus 320neo, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines, and Airbus has the responsibility for the analysis and characterization of the on-ground and in-flight impact of the use of 100% SAF.
Safran’s involvement in the project consists of carrying out studies on the compatibility of fuel systems and engine adaptations both for commercial aircraft and helicopter optimization for 100% SAF types.
On its part, ONERA will provide support to both Airbus and Safran in the analysys of fuel compatibility with aircraft systems. It will also be in charge of the preparation, analysis, and interpretation of the results of the impact of SAF on emissions and contrail forrmation.
Finally, Dassault Aviation will contribute with studies on material and equipment compatibility with SAF and verification of unblended sustainable aviation fuel biocontamination. Fuel used for the VOLCAN experimental flight will be provided by Total Energies.
Besides the aspects cited above, the study will ensure that the aviation industry is ready to deploy and use SAF on a large scale, a concern already addressed by both Airbus and Safran as part of their initiatives to decarbonize air transport.
The ultimate goal of the experiment is to achieve certification for single-aisle aircraft flying on 100% SAF.
Featured image: Airbus A320neo F-WNEO. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways