Wednesday 17 July 2019
 
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Etihad flies world's first flight using UAE-made 'green fuel'

ABU DHABI, January 17, 2019

Etihad Airways has become the world's first airline to fly a commercial flight using locally produced sustainable fuel derived from plants grown in saltwater.

The landmark flight, operated by a Boeing 787 and powered by GE’s GEnx-1B engines, flew from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam, marking a major milestone in the development of a clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions.

The biofuel was produced in the UAE through the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), a non-profit entity established by Masdar Institute, part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

The special fuel was derived from oil in Salicornia plants, which were grown on the two-hectare Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (Seas) farm in Masdar City.

The Seas is the world’s first desert ecosystem designed to produce fuel and food in saltwater. Fish and shrimp raised at the facility provide nutrients for the plants as well as contribute to the UAE’s food production.

Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer Etihad Aviation Group, said: “This is a significant milestone for the UAE and its key industries. Etihad is fully committed to this project which demonstrates a successful proof of concept that is local, viable, cost-effective and sustainable."

“Decarbonisation is important across the aviation industry and, together with our partners, Etihad is proud to be at the forefront of this pioneering new research,” he said.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The landmark achievement by the SBRC, part of Masdar Institute at Khalifa University, and partners marks a new beginning for the use of clean fuel for air travel. Khalifa University is proud to be part of the consortium, driving research and innovation, while contributing to creating a sustainable biofuel value chain, supporting the UAE’s strategic objectives in the energy and food sectors. The collaboration partners and Masdar Institute researchers have contributed significantly to achieve this success and we believe the use of biofuel for this commercial flight will make a compelling statement that impacts stakeholders in the aviation, energy and transportation sectors.”

Using sustainable feedstock to produce the fuel significantly reduces life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions compared to fossil fuel. The biofuel is blended directly with jet fuel and does not require any modifications to aircraft, engines or airport fuelling delivery systems. The unique initiative also bolsters the oil and gas industry by using existing refining infrastructure, with the potential to become an important new option for sustainable aviation fuel in the future.

Approximately 160,000 passenger flights have flown on a blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel since the first biofuels were certified for commercial use in 2011.

Sustainable aviation fuel represents a significant opportunity to help aviation meet its goals to cap the growth of carbon emissions by 2020 and cut levels to half of what they were in 2005 by 2050. - TradeArabia News Service




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