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Brazil's biofuel plane fleet grows

Brazil's biofuel plane fleet grows

Brazilian biofuel, already available for nine out of 10 cars on the roads, is also keeping a small but growing fleet of aircraft aloft, the company making them says.
Some 200 single-engine, single-seat Ipanema planes made by Neiva, a subsidiary of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, are now burning cheap ethanol made from sugarcane for their crop-dusting and public health missions.
The first of the ethanol-fueled EMB 202As took to the air in 2005, and the company has steadily increased production, with 32 being turned out this year, the head of the factory in the central west town of Botucatu, Almir Borges, told Agence France-Presse.
Next year, production should stabilize at 36 planes per year, he said.
The biofuel version of the plane is swelling sales of the aircraft, already the market leader in the agricultural aviation segment with a 75 percent dominance. Around 1,000 of the traditional, petroleum-based version have been sold over the past three decades.
The biofuel technology is only being used for the propeller-driven planes, and within heavy restrictions for light aircraft, Borges explained, adding that ethanol was not being used in Embraer's range of jets.
But even taking account of that, the prospects for growing the number of ethanol aircraft in Brazil is huge.


Updated : 2021-04-16 19:05 GMT+08:00