Thu 27 Oct 2011 – Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Embraer have joined forces to collaborate with the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) on long-term aviation biofuels-related research and development. Initially, a detailed report will be developed to look into the opportunities and challenges of creating a cost-effective, bio-derived and sustainable jet fuel production and distribution industry in Brazil. A series of public workshops are scheduled for 2012, with a wide range of stakeholders and a strategic advisory board providing input to the study. A further plan is to create a sustainable aviation biofuels research centre in the country that will be jointly funded by FAPESP and industry. Four Brazilian airlines – Azul, GOL, TAM and TRIP – will act as strategic advisors to the programme.
The reported is due to be completed and made public in late 2012 and will include a technology and sustainability roadmap. Stakeholders involved with the project will come from airlines, fuel producers and suppliers, environmental experts, community groups and government agencies.
A special call for proposals by FAPESP – an independent public foundation set up to foster research and the scientific and technological development of the State of São Paulo – to establish the research centre is expected to follow the initial study phase. The centre’s mission will be to close the technical, commercial and sustainability gaps needed to enable the creation of an aviation fuel supply chain in Brazil.
“The partnership with Boeing and Embraer brings a new level of FAPESP efforts to foster research partnerships between universities and companies in São Paulo,” said Suely Vilela, a member of FAPESP’s board of directors. “The research centre will be created through public selection, according to FAPESP’s Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers, which aim to establish long-term advanced core research that results in innovation.”
Commented Donna Hrinak, President of Boeing Brazil: “Bringing together people from throughout Brazil who possess the leadership and expertise to create new, low-carbon energy sources for aviation is the right thing to do for our industry, for our customers, for Brazil and for future generations.”
Both Boeing and Embraer are already working to bring together agricultural interests, academic researchers, environmental specialists and fuel companies to establish the local infrastructure to develop a viable and sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil. In July, the two manufacturers announced they were collaborating with the Inter-American Development Bank to fund a sustainability analysis of producing jet fuel from Brazilian sugarcane (see story). Azul and Embraer are planning a demonstration flight in 2012 using a blend of sugarcane-derived biojet fuel on a GE-powered Embraer 190 aircraft.
“Embraer is proud of the role it has always played in the growth of Brazil’s technological knowledge base and making our country ever more attractive, not only as a market but also as an innovation platform,” said Mauro Kern, Embraer’s Executive Vice President, Engineering and Technology. “Biofuel development has long been a focus of ours in other partnerships, and this new programme will add substance to those efforts, especially because of FAPESP’s participation.”
FAPESP supports more than 300 biomass and biofuels production scientists from Brazil and other countries, as well as students and post-doctoral researchers.