2023-11-27 Rescue Helicopter Flies for the First Time on Fuel Made From Used Cooking Oil - autoevolution

Rescue Helicopter Flies for the First Time on Fuel Made From Used Cooking Oil

A non-profit organization in Germany, ADAC Luftrettung, is rescuing not just lives, but also the environment. One of its helicopters, an Airbus H145, just became the first rescue helicopter to fly on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), marking a big step towards reducing fossil fuel in international aviation.
A rescue helicopter from the ADAC Foundation's fleet became the first one of its kind to fly on biofuel 1 photo
Photo: Safran Group
Four companies came together to make this historical event happen. Airbus manufactured the helicopter, Safran made the engine, the ADAC Foundation organized the flight, and TotalEnergies provided the biofuel. The German NGO hopes to reduce CO2 emissions by 33%, the equivalent of 6,000 tons, every year. This would be the result of over 50,000 rescue missions conducted by SAF-fueled helicopters.

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.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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