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Sun 17 Jan 2010 01:04 PM

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Plans revealed for UAE aviation biofuel research hub

Masdar, Boeing, Etihad among partners in new green energy initiative in Abu Dhabi.

Four major entities have signed a deal to establish a research project in Abu Dhabi dedicated to sustainable energy solutions.

Independent research body Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP on Sunday announced 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.

Located on a 2 sq km site at the Masdar City premises, just outside Abu Dhabi, 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.

“This project demonstrates the Masdar Institute’s strong desire to establish a world-class university dedicated to alternative energy, environmental technologies and sustainability,” said the MIST provost, Dr John Perkins.

“This project will for the first time demonstrate the commercial viability of using integrated saltwater agriculture to provide biofuels for aviation, and is consistent with the overall vision of Abu Dhabi to achieve a 7 percent target of renewables by 2020.”

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