Biofuel from desert plants, halophytes


The UAE continues to grow rapidly as a global center of trade, tourism and aviation. Boeing is working closely with the UAE’s Etihad Airways to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Abu Dhabi that will support further sustainable growth.

Since 2009, Boeing and Etihad Airways have partnered with the UAE’s Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to research and develop biofuel production using plants called halophytes, which grow in arid/desert regions and can be irrigated with seawater. In addition to the benefits for aviation, this work seeks to reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture (fish farming) while increasing food security in the Arabian Gulf and other regions with similar climates.

In January 2014, the Boeing- and Etihad-funded Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) at Masdar Institute announced research breakthroughs in its halophyte work, finding that halophytes will produce biofuel more efficiently than other well-known feedstock.