Boeing and research partners in the UAE are looking at sustainable aviation biofuel development. This is by finding that desert plants fed by seawater which will produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks. The Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), affiliated with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, will test these findings in a project that could support biofuel crop production in arid countries, such as UAE.
“Plants called halophytes show even more promise than we expected as a source of renewable fuel for jets and other vehicles,” said Dr Alejandro Rios, director of the SBRC. “The UAE has become a leader in using desert land and seawater to grow sustainable biofuel feedstock, which has potential applications in other parts of the world.”
Halophyte seeds contain oil suitable for biofuel production. SBRC research found that the entire shrublike plant can be turned into biofuel more effectively than many other feedstocks.
“This project can have a global impact, since 97% of the earth’s water is ocean and 20% of the earth’s land is desert,” said Dr Rios.
“Boeing is committed to finding ways to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions, and sustainable aviation biofuels is a key component of our strategy,” said Jeffrey Johnson, president, Boeing Middle East.
These activities are aligned with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which seeks to develop sustainable energy sources to diversify UAE economy and increase workforce opportunities for Emiratis.