An initiative by Boeing and South African Airways (SAA) to develop a renewable jet fuel sector in South Africa has announced it is to collaborate with SkyNRG on a project to produce jet biofuel from a new energy-rich, nicotine-free hybrid tobacco crop. The crop, known as Solaris, has been developed by Italian company Sunchem and test farming is already underway.
SkyNRG has teamed with Sunchem to scale up production and both Boeing and SAA will provide active support in securing further project financing and offtake agreements. The partners believe biofuel production from large, and small farms, can be expected within the next few years with oil from the plant’s seeds initially being converted into jet fuel.
Boeing and SAA are working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to help farmers with small plots of land to grow biofuel feedstocks that provide socio-economic value without harming food supplies, fresh water or land use.
Southern Africa has long been associated tobacco crops and it is an important income source for many farmers in the region, despite declining global production.
SkyNRG claims the Solaris feedstock can help to significantly reduce cost price levels towards fossil parity and has the potential to reduce 80% of CO2 emissions compared to fossil kerosene. In addition to producing vegetable oil, Solaris can also be used to generate valuable animal proteins and biomass for rural electrification purposes, says the Amsterdam-based world market provider of sustainable jet fuel.
August 21, 2014
Roland A. Jansen