Boeing and RSB Identify Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa to Develop SAF

RSB and Boeing join forces to boost SAF in sub-Saharan Africa

In day 13 september 2023, the Round Table on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), with the support of Boeing, presented a groundbreaking study at the Africa Aviation Summit, highlighting the potential for Sustainable Aviation Fuel production (PURE) and other biomaterials in sub-Saharan Africa. The study seeks to accelerate the production and implementation of SAF as part of a fair energy transition in the region.

“Fueling the Sustainable Bioeconomy” and Development Opportunities in Ethiopia and South Africa

The report, entitled “Fueling the Sustainable Bioeconomy: Creating Impact Through Landscape-Level Programs”, not only explores the potential of SAF to combat climate challenges, but also highlights its ability to generate jobs, stimulate economic growth, develop rural livelihoods and protect the environment.

RSB study identifies specific opportunities for SAF and bioeconomy development in Ethiopia and South Africa.

Ethiopia – Exploiting Brassica Carinata for Biofuels

To Ethiopia, the research served as the basis for a SAF roadmap in collaboration with industry stakeholders, civil society and government. Furthermore, identified brassica carinata, known as Ethiopian mustard, as a promising raw material for the production of biofuels. This approach simultaneously addresses the demands for food and energy in the region.

South Africa – Combating Exotic Invasive Plants

In South Africa, the study revealed a huge potential for using invasive exotic plants for the production of SAF, creating employment opportunities at the same time. These invasive plants currently cover more than 10% of the country's land surface, representing about 11,3 million tons and consuming up to 6% of the country's fresh water. RSB worked together with national and global partners to develop a sustainable harvesting approach, maintaining widely recognized sustainability standards. Elena Schmidt, executive director of RSB, highlighted the importance of a holistic approach to the development of SAF and the bioeconomy, emphasizing the integration of technical studies, stakeholder engagement and policy analysis. She highlighted that the results and recommendations of this study can offer confidence to decision makers, investors and other stakeholders to direct their efforts in the bioeconomy and support a sustainable and just transition in emerging SAF and bio-based economies.

Boeing and RSB partnership – A Boost for Sustainability

Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president for the Middle East, Boeing in Türkiye and Africa, emphasized the potential of sustainable aviation fuels to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry. He highlighted Boeing's partnership with RSB as an example of the power of collaboration in pursuing the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, while also considering the broader impact of sustainability on the environment and society.

The study was not limited to Africa and extended to Brazil in South America, where it was presented during the Boeing and RSB Sustainability Forum. During the event in São Paulo, Boeing also demonstrated its dynamic climate impact modeling tool, Cascade, demonstrating ongoing commitment to global sustainability.

This promising study highlights the potential for sub-Saharan Africa and beyond to lead the transition toward more sustainable aviation and, at the same time, fight climate change. The partnership between RSB and Boeing is an inspiring example of how collaboration can drive innovation and sustainability in aviation.

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