Boeing, South African Airways and SkyNRG are collaborating to make sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of tobacco plant.
The group are producing a hybrid plant, known as Solaris, which farmers can grow for energy instead of for cigarettes. The plant is effectively nicotine-free.
Test farming is underway in South Africa with biofuel production, from the plant's seeds, expected in the next few years.
“By using hybrid tobacco, we can leverage the knowledge of tobacco growers in South Africa to grow a marketable biofuel crop without encouraging smoking,” said Ian Cruickshank, South African Airways’ environmental affairs specialist.