GE has become the latest in a number of high-profile companies to join the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), according to recent news from the World Future Energy Summit and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The consortium now consists of Masdar Institute, GE, Etihad Airways, Boeing, Honeywell UOP, and Safran.
The aim of this consortium is the development and support of technologies/approaches to producing “sustainable bioenergy” — which is to say (for the most part), aviation industry efforts to develop “next-gen” fuels. The SBRC was founded by The Masdar Institute of Science & Technology and a number of the other current members of the consortium.
GE’s Chief Innovation Officer, Rania Rostom, stated: “One of the central pillars of our long-term commitment to the UAE and the region is our focus on promoting and collaborating on localized innovation and cocreation of advanced solutions to support sustainable development. Through our partnership with Mubadala, we opened our ecomagination center last year in Masdar City to drive local research in energy.”
“Our membership in SBRC, which is making significant strides in the viability of bioenergy production through its groundbreaking research, is an ideal fit to our operations here,” Rostom continued. “We look forward to supporting the SBRC, and helping to launch the world’s first bioenergy pilot project to use desert land — irrigated by seawater — to sustainably produce both bioenergy and food.”
This project — the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System — is aiming to address the issues of energy security, carbon emissions, desertification, food security, and agricultural pollution — all simultaneously, via the use of an integrated, closed-loop agricultural system that produces food and biofuel feedstock.
The technology uses coastal seawater to raise fish and shrimp for food, whose nutrient-rich wastewater then fertilizes plants rich in oils that can be harvested for aviation biofuel production. The plants thrive in arid, desert conditions and don’t require fresh water or arable land to grow. Lastly, the effluent is diverted into cultivated mangroves before being discharged back into the sea, further removing nutrients and providing valuable carbon storage.
This pilot project is expected to be up and running before the end of the year.
Videos about the project:
Image Credit: Masdar Institute
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