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Sustainable Aviation Biofuels for Brazil (SABB)


The goal of the Sustainable Aviation Biofuels for Brazil (SABB) project was to carry out a comprehensive assessment of challenges and opportunities for implementing an aviation biofuels industry in Brazil, taking into account technological, economic and sustainability aspects.


The objective were:

  • To develop a roadmap to identify gaps and barriers related to production, transportation and use of biofuels for aviation;
  • To create the basis for a research and commercialization agenda to overcome the identified barriers; and
  • To establish the foundation to launch a new and innovative industry in Brazil.
Feasibility Study

Value-chain step
Full value-chain

Type of pathway

Starting time and duration
April 2012 - June 2013


Regional scope

Involved countries


The project relied on a consensus based approach to identify action plan priorities to promote the use of sustainable biofuels in aviation. The project methodology used a series of workshop to stimulate discussions and gather information that were analysed to develop scenario based on the likelihood of commercial feasibility in 2015-20122 while considering also the 2050 timeframe.


Eight workshops were organised:
  • Project overview
  • Feedstock
  • Refining technologies
  • Sustainability
  • Policy and incentives
  • Logistics and supports
  • R&D and commercialisation gaps
  • Briefing to stakeholders.

The project produced its final report in June 2013, including the outcomes of the workshops, the conclusion of the projects and an action plan with recommendations to develop an aviation biofuel industry in Brazil.

The SABB project was coordinated by Unicamp and sponsored by Boeing, Embraer, FAPESP and Unicamp.


Boeing, Embraer, FAPESP, Unicamp, AIAB, Amyris, ANAC, Andritz, ANP, APTTA, Bioeca, Byogy, Climate Solutions, CTBE, Embrapa Agroenergy, Ergostech, GE, GOL, IAC/APTA/SP, IAE/DCTA, ICONE, ITA/DCTA, Lanzatech, Life Technology, Mount Rundle, Neste Oil, National Wildlife Federation, Oleoplan, Petrobras, RSB, SGB, Sindicom, Solazyme, Unifei UOP, USP, Weyerhaeuser Solutions, WWF, 4 CDM

Achievements to date
The final report, “Flightpath to Aviation Biofuels in Brazil: Action Plan” is available to download.
The project concluded that Brazil has a great potential to supply biofuels for domestic and international markets.
To start a jet biofuel industry in Brazil, sugarcane, soybeans and eucalyptus are natural candidate crops. Several other crops are feasible options but require additional R&D efforts that were identified in the project. Wastes and residues are also promising. Logistics improvements will be needed as transport infrastructure is poor in Brazil and some crops may be grown in areas distant from final use.
A conclusion is also that Brazil has abundant available land for bioenergy through increasing productivity on agricultural lands (in particular through intensification of cattle farming).
Considering the combination of feedstock and conversion technologies, 13 pathways were identified with associated R&D needs. In the short term the use of sugar and ethanol is a promising option while, in the medium to long term, lignocellulose feedstock have better competitive possibilities due to their higher sustainability. A properly designed R&D program is necessary to screen the several pathways for feedstock and processes based on economic competitiveness, LCA and other environmental and social impacts. R&D actions to improve efficiency in both feedstock production and conversion is also recommended.
Ensuring sustainability and compliance with applicable laws was considered as a major requirement that should be enforced through certification and verification. The production of feedstock in Brazil was assessed using recognized sustainability criteria like RSB, Bonsucro and ISCC. It was concluded that in the Brazilian context, biofuel production can be accelerated without endangering food security and that the real issue was to improve the sustainability of agriculture in general.
The report finally concluded that the development of aviation biofuels depends strongly on support mechanisms and proper public policies. Long-term biofuel policies, integrating all motorized transportation modes, have to be established to make aviation biofuel economically viable due to the extra-cost of producing a drop-in jet fuel.
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