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Boeing and Embraer to fund sugarcane biofuel study

Boeing and Embraer are to jointly fund a sustainability analysis into producing renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugarcane.

The study, which is also being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), will evaluate the environmental effects of the use of jet fuel produced by alternative fuels company Amyris.

The World Wildlife Fund has been brought in as an independent advisor.

"This study will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of alternative jet fuels made from sugarcane," said Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho, leader of the IDB Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Initiative.

The Amyris study is the first to be financed under the IDB's regional co-operation grant, aimed at helping companies develop alternative fuels.

The study, which is being led by Brazilian think-tank ICONE, will include a life cycle analysis of the emissions associated with the Amyris fuel, including land use issues.

"With aviation biofuels now approved for use in commercial jetliners, understanding and ensuring the sustainability of sources that can feed into regional supply chains is critical and Brazil has a strong role to play there," said Boeing vice-president of environment and aviation policy Billy Glover.

Added Amyris chief executive John Melo: "Last month, ASTM International created a task force to establish product specifications for direct sugar-to-hydrocarbon renewable jet fuels, such as that being developed by Amyris.

"We are committed to not only delivering on the technical specifications for our jet fuel but also to ensuring that our renewable products are produced sustainably."

The study is scheduled for completion in early 2012.

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