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An Airbus flew for three hours using only sustainable fuels

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An Airbus flew for three hours using only sustainable fuels

An Airbus A219neo flew to three countries today using exclusively sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), marking the start of tests that are expected to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.

The plane flew over the Toulouse area with its engines powered only by hydrogen-treated esters and fatty acids (HEFA), in other words, used cooking oils, according to the plan's organizers.

The first results of the study, which is called Volcan (from Vol, ie “flight” with Can-carburant alternatifs nouveaux, ie with “new alternative fuels”) are expected in 2022. However, the tests will continue until mid-2023. Safran, Dassault Aviation, Onera, Airbus, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of France and the Ministry of Transport are participating in the study.

It is being funded as part of a three-year, € 1.5 billion investigation into the decoupling of aviation from fossil fuels. Similar tests are set to begin next year with an H160 helicopter.

During these flights, an aircraft will be used to measure the emissions of the engines, mainly carbon dioxide, the gas that is most to blame for the greenhouse effect.

The chemical composition of SAFs is different from the fuels used today and can cause sealing problems in engines and other aircraft systems.

The planes are currently certified to fly at 50% SAF and the sector estimates that it will be able to use 100% sustainable fuels by 2030. Planes starting their flights that year will be able to consume direct sustainable fuels while to those already in operation will be added to their fuels molecules of aromatic compounds that will mimic kerosene and will prevent any corrosion problems.

In addition to technical adjustments, the main problem is to increase the production of alternative fuels in order to reduce their costs. Alternative fuels accounted for less than 0.1% of all aviation fuels used in 2019.

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Source: politis.com.cy

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