VoltAero has achieved a significant milestone by conducting a flight using its proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain, fueled entirely by sustainable bioethanol from TotalEnergies. The landmark event took place at VoltAero’s development facility in Royan, France, and represents a giant stride towards greener and more sustainable aviation.
The successful flight test utilized VoltAero’s Cassio S testbed airplane, serving as a crucial validation step for both the electric-hybrid powertrain and the use of sustainable fuels. This accomplishment plays a pivotal role in de-risking the airworthiness certification process for forthcoming production models within the Cassio aircraft family.
Jean Botti, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of VoltAero noted that “based on initial results, we calculated a truly impressive CO2 reduction of approximately 80 percent while operating the Cassio powertrain in its electric-hybrid mode and with the internal combustion engine fueled by TotalEnergies’ Excellium Racing 100.” This development highlights the potential of Cassio aircraft to contribute significantly to the aviation industry’s decarbonization goals by replacing conventional Avgas 100 high-octane fuel.
The collaboration between VoltAero and TotalEnergies reflects a step toward the broader adoption of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in general aviation. Excellium Racing 100, derived from winemaking waste, has demonstrated its environmental benefits in automobile competitions and features a 65% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to its fossil fuel counterparts over its life cycle.
Joël Navaron, President of TotalEnergies Aviation, emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting aviation’s decarbonization objectives. TotalEnergies has initiated various actions, including the installation of electric charging stations for general aviation aircraft and a pilot program aimed at offering SP98-type fuel for compatible aircraft.
The Cassio family of aircraft, integrated with VoltAero’s patented electric-hybrid propulsion system, promises to revolutionize regional commercial operations, air taxi services, private ownership, and utility applications like cargo transport and medical evacuation (Medevac). With its unique hybrid propulsion system, Cassio delivers higher performance and significantly reduced operational costs.
Why it’s important: VoltAero’s latest achievement is desired by those in aerospace to become a more common occurrence in the next chapter of aviation, taking aerial mobility one step closer to more environmentally friendly outcomes. While the current supply of sustainable aviation fuel does not yet support full deployment of flights using SAF, compatibility with sustainable aviation fuels is crucial for future regional mobility aircraft designs.