And, if you’re wondering about what’s behind this intriguing SAF, you’ll probably be surprised to find out that the answer is used cooking oil. That’s right, this is what TotalEnergies uses at its Normandy-based refinery, to obtain the second-generation biofuel that is now supporting rescue helicopters. Sustainable fuels such as those used in aviation are made from residues that are typically from the food industry, so they are also a good way of recycling waste materials. At the moment, biofuel can only be used in aviation in a 50% blend with conventional kerosene, and the pioneering ADAC H145 used a 40% blend.
But ADAC and Safran have even more ambitious goals than operating an entire fleet of helicopters running on SAF. They want to take biofuel blend percentage from the current 50% to 100%. And they also plan on using another type of alternative fuel, called Power-To-Liquid kerosene (PTL), which is a synthetic e-fuel that is obtained using electric energy.
Until then, in order to further develop the use of biofuel, they are launching a project that’s meant to be an in-depth study of how this alternative fuel works on a H145. Set to begin this summer, the project will be rolled out in Cologne, with one ADAC rescue helicopter.