The partnership began with an agreement between Boeing and Embraer in 2012.
Mauro Kern, executive vice president of operations, says the joint venture is “historic”, adding that achieving industry targets of halving emissions by 2050 would be impossible without collaboration.
“It’s an enormous challenge, a gigantic challenge,” Mr Kern says. “It’s building the future through innovation and technology. Collaboration is essential.
“By integrating and testing different technologies in one single plane in Brazil, we contribute to the consolidation of a powerful instrument of support in technological development and innovation.”
Last year, the two companies launched a joint centre of biofuel research in São José dos Campos, in São Paulo.
Boeing’s Mr Christensen says of Embraer: “They have a perspective on their technologies and we have a perspective on ours. They’re very innovative, they’re very lean, and they have an ability to accelerate technologies quickly. And I think that’s exactly the mindset we’re looking for on the ecoDemonstrator.”
He said a small team of engineers would test the technologies over a block of two weeks after the Olympic Games, which take place from August 5 to 21, before analysing the results.
Previous phases of the program tested blended biofuel while in 2014, Nasa used Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator to test its ASTAR system to more accurately space planes when landing.
In December 2014, Boeing used “green diesel” on a test flight for the first time and last June, the company tested solar-powered dimmable windows to reduce wiring, weight and fuel use.
Environmental pressure groups welcomed the latest phase of the ecoDemonstrator initiative but said significant returns on the research were needed for it to make an impact.
Tim Johnson, director of the UK-based Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), says: “The ecoDemonstrator project recognises two of the biggest environmental challenges for aviation – noise around airports and under flight paths, and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”
He says developments that reduced aircraft noise needed to be significant enough to mitigate the increase in the number of flights.
And he adds that simply replacing aviation fuel for biofuel was not sufficient.
“Any aviation biofuel must have lower ‘lifecycle’ emissions than conventional fuel in order to reduce emissions, not all biofuel does,” he says.
“In addition, the fuel should contribute to sustainable development in terms of having a positive social and economic impact on communities and the natural environment where the feedstock is obtained.
“The real challenge for aviation biofuel is how production can be scaled up to make even a small dent in the industry’s consumption of fuel that generated nearly 750 million tonnes of carbon dioxide last year worldwide.”