Smoking section? Tobacco-fuelled flight
July 21, 2016 - The first commercial planes in Africa to use biofuels carried 300 passengers between Johannesburg and Cape Town on July 15. The Boeing jets, operated by South African Airways (SAA), were partly powered by nicotine-free, high-energy "Solaris" tobacco plants cultivated by farmers in Limpopo Province.
The flights represent a major step forward for “Project Solaris,” a partnership between biochemists Sunchem SA, fuel specialists SkyNRG, SAA, and Boeing, which launched in 2014 with the aim of delivering “local, sustainable jet fuel production” at large scale.
“This is very significant as it proves we can use this biofuel,” says Ian Cruickshank, SAA Group Environmental Affairs Specialist. “It shows the industry is really changing. Four or five years ago biofuel was seen as futuristic, and today it’s here.”
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