Boeing Pursuing Renewable Jet Fuel

A new research facility near Abu Dhabi International Airport will grow plants that will eventually produce renewable jet fuel, according to the company.

Boeing and three partners, Etihad Airways, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and UAE jet fuel company Takreer, have together launched a new research facility in Masdar City, near Abu Dhabi International Airport, to grow plants that will eventually produce renewable jet fuel, an article by John Flick on the Boeing website reported. He explained that the facility is as big as four football fields in size and uses two abundant resources in the Gulf region, seawater and sand, to test an unusual model of environmental sustainability, according Dr. Alejandro Rios, director of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium.

"The secret to the experimental Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) is the salicornia plant, Rios added. Salicornia is a salt-tolerant halophyte, with a unique internal mechanism that allows it to grow in seawater. Its seeds contain plant oils that can be turned into jet fuel," Flick wrote. "In addition, the plant’s sugars and proteins may also be used for biofuel and potentially other chemicals and pharmaceuticals, according to Rios. Groundbreaking research at the SBRC has also shown that these plants can produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstocks."

The article quotes Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, as saying sustainable aviation biofuel "is poised to play an important role in meeting the aggressive emission-reduction goals industry has set."

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