Boeing and Embraer open aviation biofuel research center in Brazil

On 14 January, Boeing and Embraer opened a joint sustainable aviation biofuel research center in a joint effort to further develop the aviation biofuel industry in Brazil.

At the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center in the São José dos Campos Technology Park, the companies will coordinate and co-fund research with Brazilian universities and other institutions. The research will focus on technologies that address gaps in creating a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil, such as feedstock production, techno-economic analysis, economic viability studies and processing technologies.

'Brazil, a pioneer in the sustainable fuels industry, will play a leading role in establishing the biofuels industry and helping meet aviation's environmental goals,' says Donna Hrinak, president, Boeing Brazil and Boeing Latin America.

'Our purpose is to support work on developing and maturing the knowledge and technologies needed to establish a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil with global reach,' said Mauro Kern, executive vice president, Engineering and Technology, Embraer. 'Brazil has shown its potential and is already a benchmark for the clean-energy industry, having created very successful ethanol and biodiesel industries.'

Boeing's biofuel collaboration with Embraer is led by Boeing Research & Technology-Brazil (BR&T-Brazil), one of Boeing's six international advanced research centers.

The Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center is the latest in a series of collaborative efforts by Boeing, Embraer and Brazilian partners on sustainable aviation biofuel. Between 2012 and 2013, Boeing, Embraer, the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do São Paulo (FAPESP) and the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) held a series of workshops in Brazil and, in 2014, published a detailed roadmap—called Flightpath to Aviation Biofuels in Brazil—that identified gaps in establishing this industry. These gaps will be addressed in part through the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center. In 2014, both companies signed a collaboration agreement to jointly conduct and co-fund research and share intellectual property developed through the center.

Embraer also has collaborated with several initiatives to produce an aviation biofuel that is economically viable and fulfils stringent aviation requirements. In 2011, Embraer and engine-manufacturer GE completed test flights under a broad range of conditions on an E-170 using hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA). The following year, an E-195 from Azul airline flew during the Rio+20 fuelled with biokerosene produced from sugar cane developed by Amyris.

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