Safran Helicopter Engines is joining a group of organizations to study the feasibility of producing aviation biofuels in southwest France. Signatories to a Letter of Intent (LOI) about the project plan to evaluate local capabilities and skills in the fields of agriculture, chemicals and energy to produce and distribute sustainable aviation biofuels. The ultimate goal of the project is to provide airports, air bases, and aviation industry company in the region with a certified and drop-in – no engine modification required – fuel source for local use.
In addition to Safran, the other members of the project include Euralis, Teréga, ACD (Aquitaine Chimie Durable), Chemparc, Agri Sud Ouest Innovation, Xylofutur, CCI Pau Béarn, Pau and Pays de l’Adour University and the Aerospace Valley consortium.
“To complete the necessary transition to carbon neutrality by 2020, the aerospace industry has to act in many areas,” said Alain Rousset, president of the Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. “In the short and medium term, introducing biofuels is one of these. The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region possesses excellent resources in agriculture, chemicals and energy, which can be used to develop this production.”
Safran explains, that when compared to conventional kerosene, biofuels emit much less carbon throughout their life-cycle (from production to consumption). The company notes plans to produce engines that will be compatible will alternative fuels in the 2030-2035 timeframe. Safran Helicopter Engines has produced more than 75,000 helicopter engines since being founded, with more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.
“Safran is committed to an industry that treats the environment with greater respect. Success in this ecological transition will evolve from expertise in several technologies,” said Franck Saudo, CEO, Safran Helicopter Engines. “Safran Helicopter Engines is exploring several of these including hybrid-electric power, optimized turboshaft designs and alternative fuels. Our ambition to create this local biofuel source will satisfy the latter objective.”