One of the big Masdar sessions at the World Future Energy Summit, part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, was a session focused on the halophyte biofuel research CleanTechnica featured in two exclusives pieces last year.
As Dr Alejandro Rios of Masdar Institute called it again today in the press conference, this biofuel development is “truly game-changing” — as far as things look right now.
Within a few months, the Sustainable Biofuels Research Consortium will begin a pilot project on over 20,000 square meters of land in Masdar City. The best summary of this project can be seen in the first video below, and the earlier CleanTechnica interviews with Dr Alejandro Rios and Darrin Morgan of Boeing. However, following the videos below, I’ll write up a quick summary.
First, however, I think it’s useful to add a little context. Key consortium members include Boeing, Etihad Airways, and Masdar Institute. Speaking with both Alejandro and Darrin, it was clear that, aside from the potential climate and environmental benefits of halophyte biofuel, the biofuel would likely burn in the airplane systems in a much better way for those systems, improving performance and efficiency. Furthermore, the idea is that, once it gets up to scale, halophyte biofuel could be more cost-competitive than conventional jet fuel.
If you decided to skip the videos above, here’s a quickie on how the halophyte system will work. Water will be pumped in from the sea and used to grow fish & shrimp. A big problem with such aquaculture is that a tremendous amount of waste is created, and then returned to ocean with no specific treatment! The idea is that this biofuel production process will use aquaculture waste in order to irrigate halophyte plants. The remaining water will then go back through a mangrove wetland to be filtered further before returning to the ocean essentially as it came in.
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