• Regenerated propellant

    Regenerated propellant

    South African researchers are looking into powering aeroplanes with agricultural waste.

    Since South African Airways powered a Boeing 737’s flight using tobacco two years ago, there has been hope that biofuel could become a major part of the aircraft industry. Now SA-based Fetola, the WWF and SkyNRG have formed the Waste to Wing project, according to a Business Tech report.

    ‘South Africa produces a large amount of agricultural waste, as well as waste from plantation forestry and waste biomass from alien vegetation clearing programmes,’ says WWF energy economics and policy specialist Tjasa Bole-Rentel. ‘So far the effort is a small “proof of concept” project, likely to produce just enough jet biofuel for one more flight. But if the technology works, production could be scaled up significantly – perhaps to as much as 15% of the aviation fuel used at Johannesburg’s international airport,’ she adds.

    Plant matter needed to create the biofuel will be collected by 25 small businesses – an effort by the project to create employment.

    10 July 2018
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images