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Boeing and its partner South African Airways recently announced that farmers in South Africa will soon make their first harvest of energy-rich tobacco plants that will be used in research and development of next-generation sustainable aviation biofuel. The nicotine-free tobacco plant’s seeds generate an oil that could be turned into bio-jet fuel as soon as 2015; future research could result in biofuel applications for the plant’s stems and leaves as well.

Sustainable aviation biofuel made from these plants can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 50 to 75 per cent, ensuring it meets the sustainability threshold set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).The initiative continues Boeing’s efforts to support the production of sustainable aviation biofuels suited to local ecosystems around the world — working with partners in the United States, Europe, China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and other countries.

When produced sustainably, aviation biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel. On the EU policy side, Boeing continues to advocate for policy measures that can support aviation biofuels development and commercialisation.

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