Monday, December 15, 2014

[biofuelwatch] South African project to produce biojet fuel from “Solaris” tobacco





http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/12/south-african-project-to-produce-biojet-fuel-from-solaris-tobacco-competing-with-food-for-land/

 

South African project to produce biojet fuel from "Solaris" tobacco – competing with food for land

Boeing and South African Airways plan to 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.  They are calling this "Project Solaris" and the first 50 hectares of Solaris have been planted in Limpopo province.  The test crop will be harvested for the first time in December 2014, and the first test flights could begin next year. The aim is to provide new economic opportunities for small farmers, and fuel security, and much is being made of jobs created with new skills.  Though some oil is found in tobacco seeds, the plants few, so oil is derived from the leaves. South African Airways hopes to use 20 million litres of biofuel in 2017, before reaching 400 million litres by 2023.  SkyNRG hope to have 250,000 hectares planted with Solaris by 2025. When the oil price was high, there were hopes the tobacco-derived jet fuel would save money, but now the price of oil has tumbled, the scheme finances may be different. If the test farming in Limpopo is successful, the project will be expanded in South Africa and potentially to other countries. However, growing tobacco completes with food – as the crop needs water and fertiliser to grow economically. It is therefore diverting land away from food production




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Posted by: almuth@ernsting.wanadoo.co.uk



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Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass.

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