Embraer, GE Plan Biofuel Flight

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Embraer and General Electric will flight-test a renewable jet fuel by early 2012, the companies said on Wednesday. They plan to use a renewable biofuel made from sugar cane, developed by Amyris Biotechnologies, which is based in California and operates a subsidiary in Brazil. The test will be flown using a jet owned and operated by Azul Linhas Aereas, a new Brazilian airline. The goal is to accelerate the introduction of a renewable jet fuel with significantly lower carbon emissions and to provide a long-term sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel, Embraer said in a news release.

Brazil has the world's largest crop of sugar cane and a history of expertise in ethanol production. Amyris produces its renewable fuel by synthetically altering the metabolic pathways of microorganisms, such as yeast, to engineer "living factories" that transform sugar into products such as diesel fuel and jet fuel. "This is a landmark project for air travel," said Amyris CEO John Melo. "It demonstrates that a united industry can usher in an era of cleaner air travel, while using sustainable resources."