GE Aviation to test 100% SAF in Catalyst


GE Aviation, in partnership with the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT), is to begin testing the use of biofuels or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its new Catalyst turboprop engine. The testing, which will begin this year, aims to power the engine using 100% SAF within 18 months.

The Catalyst is the first turboprop engine developed by GE entirely in Europe for 50 years. Operation of the SAF-powered engine will start early this year in new test centres located in the outskirts of Prague, Czech Republic.

The joint team of researchers, experts and engineers from GE Aviation Turboprop, CVUT and Avio Aero have already begun preparation work.

“We are enthusiastically opening a new technological chapter in the research and development cooperation with the university, and right on its fifth anniversary,” says Milan Slapak, CEO and general manager of GE Aviation Czech.

“This is just another benefit for the aviation ecosystem that began with the development of digital technologies for the predictive maintenance of turboprop engines, through thousands of hours of testing on the new test cells at the airport of Hradec Kralove, and highlighted by Catalyst’s first flight. I think it’s a story of excellent collaboration, of human and technological excellence, unparalleled between industry and academia,” Slapak added.

The first operations with the SAF-ready Catalyst will use a mixture consisting of 40% alternative fuel. At present, a maximum SAF blend of 50% has been certified.