South African Biofuel Project
South African Biofuel Project – Recognised for Sustainability
September 4, 2015: Project Solaris, a South African biofuel initiative, received the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certification this week for producing a crop that can be used as feedstock for bio jet fuel. The energy-rich, nicotine- and GMO-free tobacco crop has been named “Solaris” and it is grown in South Africa’s Limpopo province. It is a plant that yields significant amounts of sustainable oil, which could be converted into bio jet fuel reducing lifecycle carbon emissions by 50% to 75%. It would also lower the fuel costs, which contribute up to 41% of the state-owned airline’s total operating costs. “Developing a biofuel crop in South Africa’s ‘breadbasket’ province has, of course, drawn us into the centre of the food vs fuel debate,” said Joost van Lier, the managing director of Sunchem South Africa. “Having to undergo a systematic process of evaluating the social and environmental ramifications of this development as prescribed by the RSB has allowed us to feel confident in promoting Solaris, not only as a financially viable crop for farmers in the region, but also one that will not affect food security or lead to environmental degradation.” Boeing, a premium sponsor of the program, applauded SAA and the South African government for ensuring the sustainability of their emerging aviation biofuel supply chain as it is being developed. “This milestone marks a very significant step forward in ensuring positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes for aviation and the planet,” said J Miguel Santos, Boeing International’s managing director for Africa.
Source: SAinfo reporter