“As engineers in the aviation industry, I like to think that we are well placed to extend our influence far beyond ourselves, by minimising the footprint of our aircraft used by so many around the world” said Toby Wells, Sustainable Aviation Fuels project leader.
At the heart of the decarbonisation roadmap, Toby is working to make Airbus aircraft compatible with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), so in future planes can fly without fossil fuels, reducing the CO2 emissions life cycle significantly. “Sustainable fuels are a solution that can provide environmental benefits right now, even before more advanced technologies are ready to enter service. Existing aircraft are able to run on a SAF blend of up to 50% and we are currently exploring how to achieve flights on 100% SAF - a huge milestone on our journey !” said Toby.
The engineering challenges are numerous: “The fuel is also used as a coolant, a lubricant and as a hydraulic actuating fluid inside the engine. We need to be able to measure accurately how much fuel is on board the aircraft, and ensure it properly interacts with all materials used in the wing and systems. In addition, we have an objective to achieve full compatibility with minimal change on the aircraft. This is important as we are considering how to address aircraft which have already been delivered with retrofit solutions.”