A rescue helicopter has flown on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the first time achieving a new milestone in international aviation.
Operated by the German non-profit organisation ADAC Luftrettung, the Airbus H145 rescue helicopter had its Arriel 2E engines ceremonially refuelled with SAF at the air rescue station at Munich's Harlaching Clinic.
This took place in the presence of the ADAC Foundation's board of directors, the engine manufacturer Safran Helicopter Engines, the helicopter manufacturer Airbus Helicopters, and the energy company TotalEnergies. Together, these companies will be a driving force in the decarbonisation of helicopter flight by developing alternatives to conventional aviation fuels.
The H145 was using a second-generation biofuel – the SAF of choice of the aviation industry – which reduces CO2 emissions up to 90 % compared to its fossil equivalent.
The fuel used for the first rescue helicopter flight in Munich was produced by TotalEnergies at its facility in France from used cooking oil, without using any virgin plant-based oil.
With this SAF, the ADAC Luftrettung fleet could achieve a 33% reduction in CO2 emissions, which, with more than 50,000 rescue missions and more than 3.3 million kilometers flown per year, equates to a reduction of around 6,000 tons of CO2.
Dr. Andrea David, CEO of the non-profit ADAC Foundation, said: “For us, the SAF pilot project is a first big step on the way to a climate-neutral ADAC Foundation and air rescue service, and our contribution as a non-profit organisation to achieving the climate protection goals of Germany and Europe.”
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