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 Getting new technologies ready for production
Another way of immediately reducing the environmental impact of aircraft is to replace conventional jet fuels by fuels that emit less CO2. But we have to start the replacement process right now if the industry is to meet its climate commitments.
The emergence of low-carbon fuels depends not only on technological progress, but also on economic and political measures. These fuels have to come from renewable, easily accessible, financially competitive and socially acceptable sources, such as biomass- based fuels that do not compete with food crops. Despite the challenges to be met, Safran sees this solution as a decisive way of decarbonizing aviation, concurrently with optimized thermal engine architectures.
 ■ From the technological standpoint, the most immediately accessible solution is the use of so-called “drop-in” fuels, which could be used with today’s airplanes by mixing it with jet fuel, without having to modify the aircraft, its operation or airport infrastructures. Current technologies already allow the use of up to 50% biofuels (from biomass). But their feasibility is still limited by the lack of a large-scale production system to make them available in sufficient quantity and at competitive cost. Today, biofuels only account for about 0.1% of the total worldwide. In France, the rather modest target is 2% in 2025 and 5% in 2030 and the European Union will set a mandatory incorporation rate.
■ As a manufacturer of engines and fuel system components, Safran is focusing on expanding the usability of biofuels by developing technologies capable of surpassing the current technical threshold of 50% biofuels mixed with jet fuel. This mainly entails modifying seals and pumps to adapt to the reduced aromatic compound content, thus ensuring optimum operation of the fuel system no matter what fuel is used. To push the envelope even further, Safran has teamed up with TotalEnergies in a drive to achieve full SAF compatibility for both current and future engines. Initial test flights with 100% biofuels have already been conducted with an Airbus A319neo and a Boeing 737 MAX, both powered by CFM LEAP engines.

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