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Airbus and TotalEnergies target development of ‘100% sustainable aircraft fuel’

Professional Engineering

An A319neo flight test aircraft is refuelled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (Credit: © AIRBUS 2021, H. GOUSSÉ / master films)
An A319neo flight test aircraft is refuelled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (Credit: © AIRBUS 2021, H. GOUSSÉ / master films)

Airbus and TotalEnergies have signed a strategic partnership aimed at decarbonising aviation with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

A research and innovation programme aims to develop “100% sustainable fuels tailored to the design of current and future aircraft”, the European aerospace giant said.

The work will also investigate the impact of the composition of SAF on the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and non-CO2 effects such as contrails.

Produced from diverse sources such as used cooking oil, sewage, household rubbish, or even CO2 itself, SAF can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional fuel, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

French oil and gas multinational TotalEnergies has supplied SAF used by Airbus for its deliveries in Toulouse since 2016, and will supply more than half of the aerospace firm’s requirements in Europe under the new partnership.

The energy company has also previously supplied SAF for demonstrations including the first long-haul flight using French-produced SAF in an A350 between Paris and Montreal in May 2021, and the first A321neo flight with 100% SAF last year.

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, said: “The development of SAFs is at the heart of our company's transition strategy. We are happy to form a strategic alliance with Airbus to play our part in meeting the challenge of aviation decarbonisation together.

“TotalEnergies has been working hard to respond to the sector’s new demand for a reduced carbon footprint. Our company has set itself a target of 1.5m tons of annual SAF production by 2030.”

Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, said: “Accelerating the deployment of SAFs is essential if we are to meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions from aviation by 2030. This partnership between Airbus and TotalEnergies demonstrates the willingness of aerospace manufacturers and major energy producers and suppliers to work together to meet this challenge. We are determined to meet our decarbonisation targets and ensure that aviation can continue to play its valuable role for society in the future.”

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