50% of SAA fleet to use biojet fuel by 2023
State-owned airlines SAA and Mango flew their first commercial flights on Boeing 737-800s using blended biojet fuel‚ the culmination of a three-year trial of a nicotine-free tobacco crop called solaris.
Project Solaris is a partnership between SAA‚ Boeing‚ industrial research company Sunchem‚ sustainable fuels specialists SkyNRG and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.
The crop is grown on 60 hectares near Marble Hall in Limpopo‚ but the ultimate objective is to expand growing through Southern Africa and build up to sufficient volumes to justify building a refinery.
Until then‚ the oil extracted from solaris seeds is being exported to AltAir Fuels in the US‚ where it is refined and sent back to SA as blended biojet fuel.
SAA acting CEO Musa Zwane said the target was for half of its aircraft to use biojet fuel by 2023.
The SAA and Mango flights carried 300 passengers from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Boeing 737-800s on June 15‚ using a blend of 30% aviation biofuel.