JOHANNESBURG - SkyNRG announces its first major feedstock project in South Africa based on the Solaris technology. Solaris is a nicotine-free energy tobacco crop that’s developed by the Italian company Sunchem. SkyNRG and Sunchem SA have teamed up to roll out Solaris in Southern Africa at large scale to help power local sustainable jet fuel production. Both South African Airways (SAA) and Boeing will provide active support in securing further project financing and off take.

Solaris can be used as a bio jet fuel feedstock that can help to significantly reduce cost price levels towards fossil parity and has the potential to reduce 80% of CO2 emissions compared to fossil kerosene. Next to the production of vegetable oil, the plant can be used to generate valuable animal proteins and biomass for rural electrification purposes. Solaris aims to demonstrate its sustainability by meeting the criteria of the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standard which has been identified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other international NGOs as the strongest sustainability guarantee on the market.

SkyNRG, Boeing and SAA anticipate growing Solaris on large-scale as well as for small-holder farms in the region. Boeing, SAA and the RSB are already working together with Southern African stakeholders to position farmers with small plots of land to tap markets for biofuel feedstocks that provide socio-economic value to communities without harming food supplies, fresh water or land use. The consortium wants to raise further funding in the near future to reach critical scale as soon as possible.

Maarten van Dijk, Chief Technology Officer at SkyNRG said: “We strongly believe in the roll out potential of Solaris in the Southern African region. Business cases like these tick all the right boxes for SkyNRG and are exactly what we are looking for, as they give the opportunity to deliver affordable and sustainable fuels.”

Joost van Lier, Managing Director of Sunchem SA stated: "We have been working on this project in Marble Hall for two years proving success in the small scale trials. We are pleased to have the support of Boeing, SAA, SkyNRG and RSB to be able to demonstrate the project in an industrial trial on both the commercial and community land.”

"Boeing is proud to work with SkyNRG and our customer South African Airways on a valuable project with Solaris plants that supports sustainable aviation biofuel development, economic opportunity and public health in South Africa," said Julie Felgar, Managing Director of Environmental Strategy and Integration at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“We are pleased to be working with partners of SKYNRG’s caliber, who are globally known as one of the leaders in the market for sustainable aviation biofuels,” said Ian Cruickshank, SAA Group Environmental Affairs Specialist.

Rolf Hogan, Executive Secretary at RSB commented: “We are very pleased with this important initiative by a key RSB member that offers the potential to deliver both sustainable bio jet fuel and socio-economic development.”