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Boeing and South African Airways to Fly Planes on Tobacco Fuel

Boeing Co. and state-owned South African Airways SOC Ltd. agreed to cooperate to produce jet fuel from a new type of tobacco plant to reduce environmental pollution.

The partners will use SkyNRG’s hybrid plant Solaris, which can be grown for energy crops by farmers instead of traditional tobacco, the companies said today in a statement. Initially, the oil from the plant’s seeds, effectively nicotine-free, will be refined into the fuel.

“In coming years, Boeing expects emerging technologies to increase South Africa’s aviation biofuel production from the rest of the plant,” the company said. “This initiative broadens cooperation between Boeing and SAA to develop renewable jet fuel.”

The partners agreed last October to develop Africa’s first biofuel supply chain for commercial aviation. Several international air carriers, including British Airways Plc and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., are developing projects to produce jet fuel from crops or waste to reduce greenhouse emissions.

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