Africa's First Biofuel Flights Take Off in South Africa


History was made in mid-July. Africa's first sustainable biofuel powered flights successfully flew between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The South African Airways (SAA) and Mango Boeing 737-800s used biofuel to power their engines on 15 July 2016. The fuel is made from a tobacco plant cultivated in Limpopo.


Under Project Solaris, the plant, also named Solaris, produces small leaves, flowers and seeds which are crushed to extract a vegetable crude oil. It is a nicotine-free, hybridised tobacco plant.

Growing the crops locally had contributed to the country's National Development Plan of economic and rural development, said Musa Zwane, SAA's acting CEO. 


He also noted that the project had established a regional bio jet fuel supply chain, something of which we could be proud.

Nico Bezuidenhout, Mango CEO, echoed Zwane's pride. "The project also shows how, when various role players come together and collaborate, success is imminent," he said.

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