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First aviation biofuel commercial flights to start in Brazil next year

Brazil’s Amyris and airline GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes sign deal to pave way for renewable-fuelled jet flights in 2014

Aeroplane
The anticipated partnership was announced during the first commercial flight with an aviation biofuel in Brazil

The first commercial flights using aviation biofuels in Brazil look set to start next year. Brazil's Amyris and GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in Latin America, has signed a deal that could pave the way for GOL commercial flights to use Amyris renewable jet fuel in 2014. The anticipated partnership was announced during the first commercial flight with a renewable jet fuel in Brazil by the airline.

Adalberto Bogsan, vice president of GOL, said: "GOL is committed to making commercial aviation more efficient and sustainable. Our experimental flight with renewable jet fuel at the Rio+20 in 2012 was an important step to guide our work. Today, we advance one more step."

The news follows on from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and South African Airways (SAA) announcing they are working together to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in South Africa. The project is a first in aviation biofuel development for the African continent.

Under the memorandum of understanding, GOL and Amyris will work together to establish a framework for bringing Amyris renewable jet fuel produced from Brazilian sugarcane to GOL's commercial flights, following regulatory approvals and validation by standard-setting bodies. This includes ASTM International and Brazil's Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP).

The partnership, under of auspices of the Brazilian Biofuels Platform, an industry and government-supported initiative to encourage the use of renewable fuels in aviation, was announced at Brazilian Aviation Day celebration. This included participation of Brazil's Secretary of Civil Aviation, Minister Moreira Franco, and a number of industry stakeholders including Brazilian Airlines Association (ABEAR), Brazilian Biodiesel and Biojet Association (UBRABIO), GE, and Boeing among others.

"GOL supports all initiatives to help make Brazilian aviation more sustainable," said Paulo Kakinoff, president of GOL. During the past year, the airline's fuel-saving initiatives have helped it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 30 thousand tons.

Lifecycle analysis indicates that the Amyris renewable jet fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent or more when compared to convention fossil-derived jet fuel.

"We are committed to working with the aviation industry to bring cleaner skies, starting in Brazil in 2014. Following two successful demonstration flights and a series of successful tests with multiple industry stakeholders, we look forward to receiving ASTM validation and ANP approval of our breakthrough renewable jet fuel produced from Brazilian sugarcane," said John Melo, Amyris's President & CEO.