Image credits: Mark Olsen
News Article

First Flight Using 100 Percent Sustainable Fuel Takes Off

By Sofía Hanna | Wed, 11/03/2021 - 16:35

In collaboration with ONERA, the French Ministry of Transport and Safran, Airbus carried out the first test flight of the A319neo using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made primarily from used cooking oil and other residual fats. This fuel is expected to be used in Airbus aircraft starting in 2022.


This is Airbus’s first in-flight study of a single-aisle aircraft powered by SAF. By 2022, Airbus aims to analyze the impact of 100 percent SAF on emissions on the ground and during flight. Airbus’s partners will continue to study the environmental implication of these fuels and to develop new ways of harnessing them. Safran, for example, will perform compatibility studies to adapt the fuel system and engine of commercial aircraft and helicopters to 100 percent SAF fuels. Dassault Aviation is also performing material and equipment compatibility studies to analyze biocontamination susceptibility.


These studies are part of the VOL Avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux (VOLCAN) project, which aims to contribute to global decarbonization efforts being carried out throughout the aerospace industry. The project is benefiting from financing from the France Relance recovery plan. VOLCAN aims to promote the deployment and large-scale use of SAF, as well as the certification of 100 percent of SAF for use in the new generation of single-aisle commercial aircraft, according to Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transport. 


VOLVAN is only one of numerous projects being undertaken by industry leaders to promote the decarbonization of the aviation and aerospace industries. Airlines and airports worldwide have recognized the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling waste, said the International Civil Aviation Organization. Some measures to improve sustainability include analyzing passenger consumption data, using cups and plates that can be composted, donating non-perishable food and introducing recycling of bottles and cans. These measures help minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Airlines and manufacturers also cooperate closely to recycle end-of-life aircraft, recycling up to 90 percent of the aircraft by weight. Also, aviation has clear and comprehensive climate action plans to reduce CO2 emissions.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Bain & Company, Airbus, MBN, UN, International Civil Aviation Organization
Photo by:   Mark Olsen, Unsplash
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst