Through a partnership with the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT), GE Aviation Czech will begin testing in 2022 the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its new Catalyst turboprop engine. The goal of the research is to power the Catalyst with 100 percent SAF within 18 months.
Testing will take place in new advanced test cells located outside Prague; the two partners and Avio Aero have already begun preparations for the operations. Initially, the testing will begin with a mixture of 40 percent SAF as well as comparisons running the engine on traditional jet fuel and a SAF blend to compare the carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions. GE Aviation noted the engine has been approved for a mixture of jet A-1 and 50 percent SAF.
Catalyst also shows promise for hybrid-electric flight, according to GE Aviation. Initial evaluations of the engine suggest it can generate more than 1 MW of power. “The turboprop engine market lends itself favorably to the application of technologies aimed at cutting CO2 emissions,” said GE Aviation Turboprop engineering leader Sergio Salvano. “Catalyst will be a reference point in this respect, so much so that it is destined to be a crucial part of the journey towards sustainability targeted by the next European program, Clean Aviation.”