South African Airways increasing sustainable local fuel into its ground-handling operations

posted on 29th November 2019 by Eddie Saunders
South African Airways increasing sustainable local fuel into its ground-handling operations

South African Airways (SAA) and its wholly-owned subsidiary and low cost carrier, Mango Airlines, made history in 2016 as the first two airlines in Africa to operate commercial flights respectively, which were powered by sustainable aviation fuel produced from Sunchem’s nicotine-free tobacco plant, Solaris.

The project will introduce Solaris-based biodiesel into the ground-handling operations at O.R .Tambo International Airport.  This will support a feasible scale-up of feedstock production and infrastructure such that a fully localised value chain for a Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) refinery may be achieved in the coming years, producing bio-jet fuel and green diesel. The next phase will be rolled out in a collaboration between Sunchem, Swissport, The Royal Bafokeng Nation (through implementing entity Moumo Integrated Development) and iLive. This is endorsed by South African Airways (SAA).

Aviation currently contributes 2-2.5% to worldwide CO2 emissions (the equivalent of Canada). Whilst compared to other industries this may not appear exorbitant, the fast growth in air traffic and the related increase in jet fuel consumption means that by 2050 global aviation could account for over 22% of all CO2 emissions. As such, the reduction of aviation’s emissions is a critical component of global climate mitigation action aimed at limiting warming to 1.5 °C.