SA Consortium to turn waste biomass into aviation fuel

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A consortium comprising enterprise development specialist Fetola, the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) and SkyNRG is launching the Waste to Wing project to determine the feasibility of using waste biomass to produce sustainable aviation fuel in South Africa.

The consortium will help develop 25 small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) to supply the raw material or feedstock for the project, which is expected to demonstrate the workings of pre-treating the feedstock and converting it into sustainable aviation fuel – the first step towards a local sustainable aviation fuel industry.

A strong requirement and guiding principle of the Waste to Wing project is that the fuel should conform to the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials’ sustainability standard. The intention is to develop a fuel sector that promotes food security, biodiversity, as well as water, land and labour rights.

“We look forward to this opportunity to use our convening power to bring all relevant stakeholders together for the common goal of developing Africa’s first alternative aviation fuel value chain and ensuring it conforms to the highest standard of sustainability,” WWF-SA policy and future head Saliem Fakir said.

Fetola CEO Catherine Wijnberg noted that the Waste to Wing programme provided an opportunity to drive meaningful impact in a new value chain.

“Fetola will develop and build capacity within 25 SMMEs to be reliable and commercially robust suppliers in an internationally strategic industry,” she said.

SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk added that the company was proud to be included in the ongoing development of sustainable aviation fuels in South Africa.

“After supplying South African Airways and Mango with sustainable aviation fuel in 2016 through the Solaris project, we are eager to take the next step and start developing local production capacity in the region together with WWF-SA and Fetola,” he noted.

Waste to Wing has financial support from the European Union’s Switch Africa Green Programme of €1.2-million. It will also look at sharing key learnings with other African countries. Source : Engineering News

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