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Published on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Boeing starts trials to turn tobacco into jet fuel


Boeing and South African Airways are teaming up for a development project aimed at turning tobacco into clean jet fuel.

The two companies will collaborate with SkyNRG and Sunchem SA to produce fuel from the nicotine-free Solaris variety of tobacco plant which South African Airways will test in flight.

The first test flights could begin next year.

"It will benefit the environment and public health while providing new economic opportunities for South Africa's small farmers," said Miguel Santos, Boeing managing director for Africa.

"This project also positions our valued airline customer to gain a long-term, viable domestic fuel supply."

"We are looking at between 400 to 500 million liters per annum, so it's a fairly significant amount of fuel that we actually want to produce," said Ian Cruickshank, head of environmental affairs at SAA.

Sustainable jet biofuel produced from the plants can reduce carbon emissions by up to 75%.

Boeing is also working on several other biofuel development projects in the US, Europe and Asia.

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  • SAA Flying on Tobacco

    Sounds like a good use for tobacco as long as the Ground Crews don't inhale!

    By Gordon Young, Tuesday, January 6, 2015

  • SAA FLYING ON TOBACCO

    The next thing it will be flying on dope,they will have to make sure they don't weave all over the sky-fly [email protected]

    By Penelope Bannerman, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

  • Risky??

    Oh dear, does this mean the engines will have a shorter life due to getting nicotine addiction? Like most smokers, they will eventually need oxygen and there's not too much of that at 36,000 ft! Has Boeing really thought this through?!

    By Keith Standen, Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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