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First helicopter engine runs using 100% sustainable fuel

Bordes, September 8, 2021 - Safran Helicopter Engines today performed a world first at its Bordes facility (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France); a helicopter engine run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). During the test, a Makila 2 ran on a biofuel produced by TotalEnergies from residues and waste from the circular economy, specifically used cooking oil.

A test campaign will now evaluate the operational impact of using only SAF on a helicopter engine.  To do this, the engine manufacturer will utilize a Safran Tech special facility known as "Bearcat" (Banc d’Essai Avancé pour la Recherche en Combustion et Aérothermique des Turbomachines), an advanced test bench for turbomachinery combustion and aerothermal. 

Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines says, "after the first flight of a rescue helicopter using 40% SAF in June, and the fuel’s gradual introduction for engine tests at our sites, we are now taking a new step toward using fuel made entirely from renewable sources. These tests are a key step in the realization of future test flights with our helicopter partners. By expanding the use of sustainable fuels among helicopter operators and at our sites, we will significantly reduce CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of our products".

"By offering our customers like Safran sustainable aviation biofuels produced in France, we are meeting a strong demand from the aviation industry to reduce its carbon footprint. The development of biofuels is one of the main thrusts of TotalEnergies' multi-energy strategy to meet the challenge of decarbonizing the transportation sector. This is fully in line with the Company's climate change ambition of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050," said Virginie Merini, Senior Vice President, Renewable Fuels at TotalEnergies.

Safran engines are already certified to operate with up to 50% SAF. With 100% incorporation, the lower carbon footprint of these fuels will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%.

Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 76,000 employees and sales of 16.5 billion euros in 2020 and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets.

Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.

Safran Helicopter Engines is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 75,000 produced since being founded. It offers the widest range of helicopter turboshafts in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

For more information : www.safran-group.com and www.safran-helicopter-engines.com  / Follow @Safran and @SafranHCEngines on Twitter

TotalEnergies is a broad energy company that produces and markets energies on a global scale: oil and biofuels, natural gas and green gases, renewables and electricity. Our 105,000 employees are committed to energy that is ever more affordable, clean, reliable and accessible to as many people as possible. Active in more than 130 countries, TotalEnergies puts sustainable development in all its dimensions at the heart of its projects and operations to contribute to the well-being of people.