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Mustard seeds to power US to Au...

Mustard seeds to power US to Australia Qantas flight

Carinata, which is a type of non-edible, industrial mustard seed, is to be used to power the first ever biofuel flight between Australia and the US by Qantas International.

Australia's flagship airline has signed a new partnership with Canada-based Agrisoma Biosciences, the creator of carinata, to use its agricultural technology in its flights in a bid to make flying more environmentally friendly.

Qantas has revealed that the first carinata-powered flight will leave Los Angeles for Melbourne early next year, but it hopes that by 2020, there will be farms across Australia dedicated to growing this new innovative form of biofuel.

Alison Webster, chief executive officer of Qantas International, commented: "We are constantly looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations, but when it comes to using renewable jet fuel, until now, there has not been a locally grown option at the scale we need to power our fleet.

"Our work with Agrisoma will enable Australian farmers to start growing today for the country's biofuel needs of the future. The trans-Pacific biofuel flight is a demonstration of what can be achieved locally."

She explained that the long-term goal of the partnership between Qantas and Agrisoma is to plant 400,000 hectares of carinata, which would equate to more than 200 million litres of biofuel each year.

Trials involving the crop have shown it to be well suited to the Australian climate, thanks to its water efficiency and the fact that it lends itself well to cover cropping. This is the process whereby crops are sown in fallow areas or where other crops have failed.

As a result, there is significant potential for greater use of carinata-based biofuel to create more job opportunities for agricultural workers across Australia, as well as for investors to place their cash in agricultural projects, as a push towards greater use of biofuel seems likely.

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