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Mon 18 Jan 2010 01:00 PM

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Boeing aims high with new biofuels research plan

Senior company official says initiative aims to beat IATA's biofuel targets for 2020.

Boeing aims high with new biofuels research plan
BIOFUEL PLAN: Boeing said on Monday its new research initiative aimed to exceed aviation industry targets set out by IATA. (Getty Images)

Plans for a new aviation biofuels research project in Abu Dhabi aim to go beyond industry targets for the use of biofuels by 2020, a senior Boeing official said on Monday.

Billy Glover, managing director of environmental strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes told Arabian Business that the initiative would be a five year programme.

"IATA (International Air Transport Association) has set a goal for 10 percent biofuels use by 2020, and we’re aiming to go beyond that. It’s limited only by the supply of feedstock available at an affordable price point," he said on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Boeing are being joined by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP to establish the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Project (SBRP), which will use integrated saltwater agricultural systems (ISAS) to support the development of biofuel sources for industries such as aviation.

Glover added: “It’s the first time we’ve carried out a project of this nature on this scale with all those integrated elements. The aim to see whether some of these ideas that work on a smaller scale can work together in a way that is optimised and can work on a commercial level.”

He said the goal was to "establish whether commercial plans are viable at some point during that [five year] period". The SBRP’s ISAS approach will focus on producing liquid and solid biofuels, capturing and holding carbon from the atmosphere, enlarging habitats for increasing biodiversity, and simultaneously releasing fresh water for higher value uses.

This approach will create an aquaculture-based farming system in tandem with the growth of mangrove forests and other plants that thrive in salty water.

These products can then be sustainably harvested and used to generate clean energy, biofuels and other products.

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