Boeing (NYSE: BA), Embraer (NYSE: ERJ) and the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) today announced plans to collaborate on long-term aviation biofuels-related research and development, a move that represents another major step toward the creation of a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Brazil. Azul, GOL, TAM and Trip airlines will be strategic advisors in the program.
As a result of an agreement signed today, Boeing, Embraer and FAPESP are leading the development of a detailed report outlining the unique opportunities and challenges of creating a cost-effective, bio-derived, and sustainable jet-fuel production and distribution industry in Brazil. When completed in late 2012, the report, which will include a technology and sustainability roadmap, will be made public.
The study will be guided by a series of public workshops during 2012 with input from a wide range of stakeholders, as well as a strategic advisory board, which will give the project wide-ranging guidance and institutional support. Members will include airlines, fuel producers and suppliers, environmental experts, community groups, and government agencies.
The study will frame the creation of a sustainable aviation biofuels research center in Brazil. This center will be jointly funded by FAPESP and industry in order to drive a long-term research agenda for the development of aviation biofuels technology in Brazil. A special call for proposals by FAPESP to establish this center is expected to follow the initial study phase. The mission of the center will be to close the technical, commercial, and sustainability gaps needed to enable the creation of this new 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 Sao Paulo," said Suely Vilela, member of FAPESP's board of directors. "The research center 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."
"Brazil already has shown global leadership in developing biofuels for ground transportation," said 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."
"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 program will add substance to those efforts, especially because of FAPESP's participation."
Boeing and Embraer are focused on creating sustainable aviation biofuels produced from renewable resources that do not drive food competition in vulnerable regions by competing with land and water resources. Both companies are bringing together agricultural interests, academic researchers, environmental experts, refiners and aerospace companies around the globe to establish local infrastructure needed to develop a sustainable and economically viable biofuels industry.
In 2008, FAPESP announced a broad research program in bioenergy (BIOEN), through which the foundation supports more than 300 biomass and biofuels production scientists from Brazil and 11 other countries, as well as students and post-doctoral researchers.
Since 2008, flight tests conducted by airlines and military operators show that biofuels perform as well as or better than kerosene-based jet fuel.