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Alternative fuels

Brazil promotes aviation biofuels

Nature volume 511, page 31 (03 July 2014) | Download Citation

The drive to produce biofuels that are suitable for aviation is starting to look promising (see For instance, the state government of Minas Gerais in Brazil has put in place policies to stimulate the cultivation, extraction and processing of the native macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata), a potentially sustainable source of oil for producing biokerosene.

This tree can produce up to 6,200 kilograms of oil per hectare (see T. P. Pires et al. Ind. Crops Prod. 44, 200–210; 2013) and can sequester as much as 4–5 times more carbon than other afforestation species such as Eucalyptus camaldulensis (see H. Suganuma et al. J. Arid Land Stud. 22, 69–72; 2012).

To safeguard forests, macaw palms will be planted only on existing pastureland (estimated at 170 million hectares in 2010). Oil production from macaw palms, which could exceed the size of today's global palm-oil market, does not need to compromise food production or natural ecosystems (see The trees can be cultivated next to agricultural crops and their extensive canopy cover provides fauna with food and shelter, helping to restore biodiversity that has been lost by forest clearance.

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  1. Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

    • Éder Cristian Malta de Lanes
    • , Paulo Mafra de Almeida Costa
    •  & Sérgio Yoshimitsu Motoike


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Correspondence to Éder Cristian Malta de Lanes.

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