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Solaris Plants Ready for Harvest in South Africa
(0061-2408)

On December 9, 2014, Boeing and South African Airways (SAA) announced that South African farmers would soon harvest their first crop of energy-rich tobacco plants, an important step towards using the plants to make sustainable aviation biofuel. Boeing and SAA, along with partners SkyNRG and Sunchem SA, also officially launched Project Solaris, their collaborative effort to develop an aviation biofuel supply chain with a nicotine-free tobacco plant called Solaris. In Limpopo province, company representatives and industry stakeholders visited commercial and community farms where 123 acres (50 hectares) of Solaris have been planted. Oil from the plant’s seeds may be converted into bio-jet fuel as early as 2015, with a test flight by SAA as soon as practicable. In coming years, emerging technologies are expected to increase aviation biofuel production from the plant’s leaves and stems. Sustainable aviation biofuel made from Solaris plants can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by 50 to 75 percent, ensuring it meets the sustainability threshold set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). Airlines have conducted more than 1,600 passenger flights using aviation biofuel since the fuel was approved for commercial use in 2011. Boeing is the industry leader in global efforts to develop and commercialize sustainable aviation biofuel. In addition to its collaboration in Southern Africa, Boeing has active biofuel development projects in the United States, Middle East, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Australia.

Source: Boeing


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