South African Airways announces collaboration with Boeing in sustainable fuel project

Victoria
By Victoria August 6, 2014 15:16

South African Airways announces collaboration with Boeing in sustainable fuel project

South African Airways (SAA) and hybrid tobacco producer SkyNRG have announced an initiative with Boeing to produce sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of tobacco plant.

J. Miguel Santos, managing director for Africa, Boeing International, said: “It’s an honour for Boeing to work with South African Airways on a pioneering project to make sustainable jet fuel from an energy-rich tobacco plant. South Africa is leading efforts to commercialize a valuable new source of biofuel that can further reduce aviation’s environmental footprint and advance the region’s economy.”

SkyNRG is expanding production of the hybrid plant, known as Solaris, as an energy crop that farmers could grow instead of traditional tobacco. Test farming of the plants, which are effectively nicotine-free, is underway in South Africa with biofuel production expected from large and small farms in the next few years. Initially, oil from the plant’s seeds will be converted into jet fuel. In coming years, Boeing expects emerging technologies to increase South Africa’s aviation biofuel production from the rest of the plant.

Ian Cruickshank, South African Airways Group Environmental Affairs Specialist, said: “By using hybrid tobacco, we can leverage knowledge of tobacco growers in South Africa to grow a marketable biofuel crop without encouraging smoking. This is another way that SAA and Boeing are driving development of sustainable biofuel while enhancing our region’s economic opportunity.”

Victoria
By Victoria August 6, 2014 15:16