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 organization ADAC Luftrettung, the Airbus H145 rescue helicopter had its Arriel 2E engines ceremonially refueled with biofuel, a type of SAF, at the air rescue station at Munich’s Harlaching Clinic.
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-fuel equivalent, because it is produced from residual and waste materials from the circular economy such as used cooking oils and fats. As a result, the fuel has no impact on agricultural food production.
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 percent 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.
ADAC Luftrettung and engine manufacturer Safran Helicopter Engines share the same ambition to contribute to the development of sustainable aviation fuel. To this effect they are launching a project with one ADAC rescue helicopter in Cologne. The project will study all aspects of biofuel usage on the H145, with an operational campaign to start as early as summer 2021.