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Boeing & South African Airways collaborate for sustainable biofuel



Boeing and South African Airways (SAA) are to work together to develop and implement a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa, a first for the continent.

The collaboration between Boeing and SAA is part of the companies' broader efforts to support environmental sustainability for the airline's operations and the commercial aviation industry overall, in addition to advancing South Africa's social and economic development.

"South African Airways is taking the lead in Africa on sustainable aviation fuels and, by setting a best practice example, can positively shape aviation biofuel efforts in the region," said Ian Cruickshank, SAA Head of Group Environmental Affairs. "By working with Boeing's sustainable aviation biofuel team, which has a history of successful partnerships to move lower-carbon biofuels closer to commercialization, we will apply the best global technology to meet the unique conditions of Southern Africa, diversify our energy sources and create new opportunities for the people of South Africa."

Boeing has collaborated extensively with airlines, research institutions, governments and other stakeholders to develop road maps for biofuel supply chains in several countries and regions, including the US, China, Australia and Brazil. The aerospace company's plan to work with SAA is the first such project in Africa.

"Sustainable aviation biofuel will play a central role in reducing commercial aviation's carbon emissions over the long term, and we see tremendous potential for these fuels in Africa," said Julie Felgar, managing director of Environmental Strategy and Integration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing and South African Airways are committed to investigating feedstocks and pathways that comply with strict sustainability guidelines and can have a positive impact on South Africa's development."

Flight tests show that biofuel, which is derived from organic sources such as plants or algae, performs as well as or better than petroleum-based jet fuel. When produced in sustainable ways, biofuel contributes far less to global climate change than traditional fuels because carbon dioxide (CO2) is pulled out of the atmosphere by a growing plant-based feedstock.

Boeing is also collaborating with America's Cup winner, ORACLE TEAM USA, to recycle 7,000 pounds (about 3,175kg) of carbon fibre of USA-71, a yacht built for the America's Cup campaign in 2003. The hull and mast of the racing yacht will be processed and repurposed, a first-of-its-kind effort for what will likely be the largest carbon structure ever recycled.

Boeing and ORACLE TEAM USA will utilize a technique developed to recycle composite materials from Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which is 50 percent composite by weight and 20 percent more fuel-efficient than similarly sized aircraft. Composite materials allow a lighter, simpler structure, which increases efficiency, and do not fatigue or corrode. In yachts, composite construction also provides the ability to develop a lighter vessel that is stronger and stiffer at the same time.
 



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