AFRICANGLOBE – In order to promote green energy and cut carbon emissions, South African Airways and US plane manufacturer Boeing have announced plans to develop jet fuel from a tobacco plant, known as Solaris, tobe produced by alternative jet fuel maker SkyNRG.
Announcing the plans today, the companies added that test farming of the nicotine-free plants is ongoing in South Africa, with biofuel output expected in few years time.
SAA’s Group Environmental Affairs Specialist Ian Cruickshank explained that the usage of the hybrid tobacco will help leverage knowledge of tobacco growers in South Africa to grow a marketable biofuel crop without encouraging smoking.
South Africa is currently Africa’s biggest agricultural producer of biofuel with he country setting the beginning of October next year as the target for fuel producers to start blending diesel and petrol with biofuel so as to reduce its importation of fuel.
However, Boeing spokeswoman Jessica Kowal added that the biofuel would do well in other regions where traditional tobacco is cultivated.