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To address the issues of climate change, Safran is committed to developing sustainable alternative fuels. Nicolas Jeuland, Safran's fuels of the future expert, explains the challenges surrounding the research being conducted in the field of alternative fuels for the aviation sector.

Aviation is responsible for around 2% of global CO2 emissions associated with human activities, and this figure is rising as traffic increases. It is for this reason that numerous aviation industry players are seeking to reduce the sector's environmental impact.. The primary objective is to halt the rise in CO2 emissions by 2020 and then to reduce them by 50% by 2050. "It is clear that these objectives can only be met via a package of technological solutions relating to engines and aircraft, as well as the optimization of air traffic", explains Nicolas Jeuland, Safran's fuels of the future expert. "Sustainable alternative fuels are considered to represent one of the key factors in meeting this goal." The Group is thus working actively with its partners on the development of less polluting alternative fuels, within the context of the Air Transport Action Group and the Committee on aviation environmental protection.

A biofuel / kerosene mix

Four types of biofuel are certified for blending with kerosene. The biofuels in question require no adaption to engines and each of them has demonstrated perfect compatibility with all materials and equipment via the certification process. The blend proportions differ depending on the processes used: 10% farnesane (see box) for 90% kerosene, for example, or up to 50% biofuel with the HEFA technique. "It isn't feasible today to develop engines dedicated to a single type of alternative fuel because it has to be possible to refuel aircraft all over the world", specifies Nicolas Jeuland, Safran's fuels of the future expert. The so-called "drop-in1" fuel blend thus has a major role to play today in reducing CO2 emissions in the aviation sector."

bio carburants

Safran has been testing alternative fuels in its engines since 2007. Dozens of in-flight tests have been conducted on the Toulouse – Paris route using a farnesane and kerosene mixture on Airbus A321 aircraft fitted withCFM56 engines operated by Air France-KLM, within the context of the Lab' Line for the Future project supported by the DGAC (French Department for Civil Aviation). "Globally, it is estimated that some 2,500 commercial flights have taken place over the past five years using alternative fuels of various types", continues Nicolas Jeuland.

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