Decarbonizing operations: the best ideas from Safran suppliers
At this year's Paris Air Show, Safran invited suppliers with the highest carbon footprint to a Supplier Event to bring them onboard the Group's decarbonization strategy. The event included the first edition of the "Decarbonization Challenge", which rewarded three suppliers for their commitment to the goal. We take a look at the winning innovations.
Just under a year after the first edition of its Supplier Day focusing on the climate, Safran once again brought together representatives from its key suppliers to take stock of the Group's "decarbonization" roadmap. The event, held during the Paris Air Show at the end of June, was also attended by Olivier Andriès, Safran CEO, Marjolaine Grange, EVP, Industrial, Purchasing and Performance, and Philippe Couteaux, EVP, Strategy.
The event was also the opportunity to award Decarbonization Challenge prizes to suppliers offering the best innovations to address the issue. Three companies were singled out among the 65 candidates: Freyssinet, Daher and Constellium.
Freyssinet: recycling through evaporation-concentration
Philippe Couteaux presented an award to Freyssinet for its solution to recycle production effluents using an evaporation-concentration system. This innovation can reduce an activity's carbon emissions by 85% (or about 225 tons less CO2) a year.
What is an effluent?
An effluent can be a cutting fluid (a cooling and lubricating fluid specially designed for metalwork and machining), a bleed stream*, or a liquid produced from chemical surface treatment.
How does Freyssinet's solution work?
Effluents are sucked up into an evaporator through negative pressure then, once they descend into the tubes, they absorb the steam's heat. When they are overheated, some of the effluents evaporate and the gray water also evaporates as it absorbs the steam's heat; this is pulled in, then compressed by the compressor. As it comes into contact with the tubes' external walls, the compressed steam condenses. This distilled clean water is then extracted into the process. Finally, when the effluents contain scarcely any water, they are extracted, stored and then disposed of.
The solution presents a number of advantages:
- Fewer effluents to incinerate;
- Distilled water is recovered and reinjected into the processes;
- The activity's CO2 emissions are reduced by 85% a year.
Daher and carbon fiber optimization
Another prize was awarded to Daher by Vincent Caro, CEO of Safran Nacelles. The company designed a process to make new parts (engines, cabin equipment, etc.) by optimizing discarded carbon fibers and by reducing energy consumption by using a thermocompression system. This innovation reduces CO2 emissions by 265 tons for each part made.
How does Daher's solution work?
Waste cuttings or dry fibers are cut and shaped into a non-woven mat then soaked in resin, to make a pre-form. This flat pre-form is shaped using heat in a compression molding process. This process, called net-shape causes no waste and saves on the machining phase.
The two key advantages of this solution are the recycling of fiber offcuts and the use of this net-shape molding process with mold-to-mold heating under a press. It uses less energy, produces few offcuts, and uses few consumables.
Constellium: a system to reclaim waste heat from furnaces
The final prize was presented by Marjolaine Grange, EVP, Industrial, Purchasing and Performance, to Constellium for its system to reclaim waste heat from furnaces. How does the system work? By installing a system of collection and heat exchangers.
Furnaces produce almost 500°C heat which heats water to 95°C. Since the end of 2022, a new 11 km-long network supplies this hot water to cover a proportion of the heating requirements of the town of Issoire, including 45 buildings such as a hospital, a school, a swimming pool, and housing. The town has been able to reduce its annual CO2 emissions by 4,900 tons.
This solution optimizes energy from "waste heat" - thermal energy produced indirectly by the process - which is recovered and reused. In this case, it not only serves a purpose for the company, but benefits an entire town – Constellium being Issoire's principal factory with 1,600 employees.
While it might not be the first system of its kind in France, it is the first in the Auvergne region! On the back of this success, Constellium has joined forces with EDF's Dalkia.
These three examples illustrate the extent of Safran suppliers' commitment to decarbonization!
*The penetrant water is the water used during the penetrant testing of parts, a non-destructive testing method that involves a significant amount of water.