Neste collaboration helps Bell 505 become world’s first single engine helicopter to fly using 100% sustainable aviation fuel
Neste Corporation, News, 22 February 2023
Photo: The Bell 505 taking off on 100% sustainable aviation fuel. Source: Bell
Bell Textron has completed its first flight fueled solely by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with its Bell 505 becoming the first-ever single engine helicopter to fly using 100% SAF. This milestone flight was achieved by a close cooperation between Bell, Safran Helicopter Engines, GKN Aerospace, Neste and Virent.
Safran Helicopter Engines, manufacturer of the Arrius 2R engine on the Bell 505, and GKN Aerospace, the fuel system component supplier, conducted thorough testing on the engine and fuel system components. Neste supplied the SAF and collaborated with Virent, the supplier of the bio-based aromatic additive, to blend, test and deliver the SAF for this project as a 100% drop-in fuel.
“This flight is a monumental achievement for sustainability and decarbonization in the rotorcraft industry,” said Michael Thacker, executive vice president, Commercial Business, Bell. “Showcasing a single engine aircraft’s flight capabilities with 100% SAF signals Bell’s commitment to alternative fuel usage and builds on its sustainability practices in its flight operations.”
“Neste is working closely together with forerunners in the aviation industry on verifying that aircraft can run safely on 100% SAF. This successful collaboration demonstrates that we are one step closer to enabling the entire aviation industry to take full advantage of 100% SAF as the key means to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions of air travel,” said Jonathan Wood, Vice President Global Commercial and Technical, Renewable Aviation at Neste.
SAF, made from renewable raw materials, such as used cooking oil, must currently be blended with conventional fossil jet fuel because SAF does not contain a component called “aromatics,” which is required to meet today’s aviation fuel specifications. Virent manufactures an aromatics component made from plant sugars, which was added to Neste’s 100% SAF, eliminating the need to blend SAF with fossil fuel. The SAF supplied for this test flight by Neste is therefore a “100% drop-in” replacement for fossil-based aviation fuel, requiring no engine modifications.
Sustainable aviation fuel
SAF is a next generation aviation fuel providing a more sustainable alternative to conventional, fossil based jet fuel. It is widely recognized as a key solution for achieving the aviation sector’s emission reduction goals. Using Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%* over the fuel’s life cycle compared to using fossil jet fuel. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is produced from sustainably sourced, 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, including used cooking oil and animal fat waste. SAF is blended with conventional jet fuel and works seamlessly with existing fueling infrastructure and aircraft engines.
*) When used in neat form (i.e. unblended) and calculated with established life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, such as CORSIA methodology
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Neste in brief
Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel and developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. Our ambition is to make the Porvoo oil refinery in Finland the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030. We are introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as liquefied waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have committed to reaching carbon-neutral production by 2035, and we will reduce the carbon emission intensity of sold products by 50% by 2040. We also have set high standards for biodiversity, human rights and supply chain. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2022, Neste's revenue stood at EUR 25.7 billion. Read more: neste.com
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us. We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air mobility. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours. Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.
ABOUT TEXTRON INC.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.
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