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Boeing, UOP, Masdar Institute and Industry Team Launch Study on Sustainability Of Renewable Jet Fuel Made from Halophytes

UOP’s hydrotreated renewable jet fuel process and LCA. Source: Evaluation of Bio-Derived Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosenes. Click to enlarge.

Boeing and Honeywell’s UOP are commissioning a study on the sustainability of a leading family of saltwater-based plant (halophytes) candidates for renewable jet fuel. The study is being commissioned as part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group consortium (earlier post).

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi will lead the study, which will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from salicornia bigelovii and saltwater mangroves. Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and UOP will also participate in the analysis, which will include an assessment of the total carbon lifecycle of biofuels.

Halophytes can be productive sources of biomass energy; for example, salicornia seed is 32% oil by mass. Halophytes thrive in arid land and can be irrigated with sea water, making them suitable for biofuel development; Abu Dhabi is thus a viable location for conducting a lifecycle-analysis study on the plants. UOP has been working with Global Seawater Inc., a group developing integrated seawater systems using salicornia and mangroves. With improved plant science and agronomy, early testing results indicate that halophytes have the potential to deliver very high yields per unit of land.

The halophyte study will evaluate aquaculture management and practices, land use and energy requirements and identify any potential adverse ecological or social impacts associated with using halophytes for energy development, specifically for aviation biofuel development.

To verify data gathered during the analysis, the halophyte study will be peer-reviewed by third parties and measured against practices and principles developed by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels. The results are expected to be available in late 2010.

We must continue to evolve biofuels to incorporate feedstocks that are not only sustainable, but actually regenerative and can restore the ecosystems where they are found. Global Seawater Inc. has led the development of a promising solution, and we are excited to be working with this team to further develop and understand the potential impact of integrated seawater systems.

—Jennifer Holmgren, general manager of UOP Renewable Energy & Chemicals

Sustainable biofuel development is a key component of aviation’s strategy for lowering carbon emissions. Potential plant sources being considered are only ones that don’t distort the global food-chain, compete with fresh water resources or lead to unintended land use change.

In June, Boeing and a team from across the aviation industry high-level elements of a study that shows that sustainable biofuels analyzed in a series of test flights performed favorably in comparison to petroleum-based fuel. According to the study, Evaluation of Bio-Derived Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (Bio-SPK), a series of laboratory, ground and flight tests conducted between 2006 and 2009 indicated the Bio-SPK test fuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based Jet A. The testing included several commercial airplane engine types using blends of up to 50% petroleum-based Jet A/Jet A-1 fuel and 50% sustainable biofuels. (Earlier post.)

Boeing and the scientific and academic communities are stepping forward to look at the totality of each renewable fuel source that can help us reduce carbon emissions. By working with Masdar Institute to look at these species in a formal research framework, we will better know if certain types of halophytes meet the carbon reduction and socioeconomic criteria that will allow them to become part of a portfolio of sustainable biofuel solutions for aviation.

—Billy Glover, managing director of Environmental Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Global Seawater, Inc. is a for-profit company based on seawater agriculture and aquaculture technologies transferred from the Seawater Foundation, including Seawater Farms Bahia Kino and its pilot integrated seawater farm project along the desert coast of the Sea of Cortez in Sonora, Mexico. Integrated seawater farms utilize seawater and coastal deserts to grow halophyte crops for biodiesel, biomass, carbon credits and food.

The two key plant species for the agriculture and forestry areas in the GSI are salicornia and mangrove trees, respectively. In addition to the salicornia seed oil that can be converted into fuel, the halophyte yields protein meal, and green tips and biomass (straw) that remains after harvesting. Additionally, the root structures of the plant absorb between 2 to 3 metric tons (MT) of atmospheric carbon per hectare per year, according to GSI.

Mangrove trees are well-known for their vast root structures and high growth rates. Mangroves are selectively harvested for wood, animal fodder, and absorb up to 8 MTs of atmospheric carbon per hectare per year.

SAFUG. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group formed in September 2008, and is focused on accelerating the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels&mash;fuels that meet the sustainability criteria and can be processed to yield a fuel that can be a drop -n replacement for, or blended with, existing jet fuel. Sustainable fuels will utilize existing distribution, storage, and fueling systems. They will not require any changes to existing commercial jet engines. Examples of possible sources for sustainable aviation fuel are: algae, camelina, halophytes, jatropha, and non-food cellulose.

Group members include: Air France, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, ANA (All Nippon Airways), British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, TUIfly, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM, SAS, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Blue. Boeing and Honeywell’s UOP are associate members.

Masdar. The Government of Abu Dhabi founded the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to research and develop alternative energy and sustainable technologies. Masdar Institute is an independent, non-profit, research-driven graduate institution established with the support and cooperation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A successful outcome of the study will give the Masdar Initiative an opportunity to expand its portfolio of renewable energy technologies into biofuels that are sustainable and can be grown locally, Dr. Sgouris Sgouridis of Masdar Institute said. The Masdar Initiative aims to create and sustain the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city, Masdar City, located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. (Earlier post.)




"The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi will lead the study.." sounds like Wall Street running religion or Chevron building batteries.


Monday, Sep. 14, 1981

"Reagan said that he would scrap the Synthetic Fuels Corporation that the Carter Administration had designed..."

Back to the future 30 years later. We were importing about 4 million barrels per day back then and more than 12 million barrels today.


"Madgar Institute" does not spring to mind when you think of high tech. But they likely have deep pockets, and Boeing and MIT association gives credit.
It's hard to question 'peak oil' when you see abu dhabi researching alternative fuels.



While everyone should see, 'Capitalism: a Love Story', you might especially like it.

Reagan, "the Spokes Model for the Rich", also tore Carter's solar panels off the White House, cut the Rich tax rate in half, deregulated Wall Street/Banks ("..let the bull loose.."), stacked the Fed Reserve/Treasury/FDIC with Wall Street/Banking crooks.

Surprise - 30 years later there's a "global financial meltdown" with $700 billion dollar bailout for the US finance felons still giving themselves million dollar bonuses.

Our representatives/brokers gotta keep up with Abu Dhabi/oil sheiks somehow..


I intend to see the movie tomorrow. I am sure it will just add fuel to my ire, but I feel compelled. I do not know if even they believe the free market trickle down that they profess, but it sure has done a lot of damage.


Ah yes Reagan, you want to know what he did for you? Look at this;


I'm all for research but most of this "second gen" biofuel crap is just part of abait and switch to keep people happy while we continue to make it out of food.


al vin,

WOW, thanks for the link!

I didn't realize that Reagan and the Bushs increased our national debt by 52.6%. That must be the most treasonous act ever committed - and it's not just a movie.

richard schumacher

Sure, salicornia is edible, but remember that we're talking about Abu Dhabi and irrigation with sea water. Growing more salicornia for fuel will not displace significant existing agricultural area.

It is quite natural (and good) that Abu Dhabi is investigating and developing non-fossil energy sources. They want products to sell and ways of sustaining themselves after the oil business collapses. The real mystery is why all oil producers and oil consumers are not doing the same thing on a large scale.


and they increased it as a percentage of the GNP too.


It is quite natural (and good) that Abu Dhabi is investigating and developing non-fossil energy sources

Agree. Nearly all nations and many Multinational Corps are in the trade so singleing out "Abu Dabi's , is negative racial, national or ethnic stereotyping.

We all fit that profile from some angle.



I went to see Michael Moore's film Capitalism: A Love Story.

You are right, everyone should see that movie!


SJC, ai vin,

I took a dozen pages of notes during the movie. Samples:

CREDITS: During credits tapes of bank robberies shown with robbery 'Louie, Louie' music.

INTRO: Fall of Rome, rich vs poor, chariots/NAS car. ..slaves/unskilled..

US REMEMBERED: As: stool flushing cat OR: Evictions today - one every 7.5 seconds, 14,000 lose health insurance daily

1. Taped NC Sherrif break into home -"This is America what your watching." ...

4. Paul Smith, Ameane Bank employee dies of cancer at 40, wife in tears. Secret life insurance policies benefit bank $5 million dollars (refered to as "dead peasants." WalMart cake decorator (4 kids) dies of asthma & WM get $81,000. Husband, WM employee, gets $100,000 medical bill and $6k burial. Some employers complain because only 78% died as planned. MM, how legal - I can't take fire insurance on your house? Many corporations (big banks, GE, WM,..) do it.

RELIGION: Father Preston married MM: "Capitalism is evil". Father Doughtery, married MM's sister, "Capitalism is a radical evil." What's their boss say? Archdiosis Bishop Gumbton: "Capitalism is contrary to the teachings of the Bible", "The meek shall inherit the earth." ".. as you treat the poor,.."
If Jesus Christ were here today, "I can't heal your pre-existing condition. You'll have to pay out-of-pocket." - Jesus got hijacked..

WALL STREET JOURNALIST: "I don't like democracy. It's like two wolves and a sheep asking what's for dinner"

LEAKED: Citigroup top investor memo: "The US is a Plutonomy with the top 1% controlling more financial wealth than the bottom 95%."
"The biggest danger, people demanding more financal equality.. one man:one vote .. what's stopping them .. people hope to be rich themselves." On screen, a lap dog is shown leaping for table scraps.

MM checks the Constitution: No capitalism, just "We the People,.. a more perfect Union, ..the general Welfare..

"Chicken Little" Bush - "..nations financial collapse imminent.." Big Banks/Wall Street needs $700 Billion - people and Congress reject the vote. Bush, "I will not wait for this vital legislation to pass" Paulson, Sec. of Treasury/ex-Goldman Sacks (GS) CEO worth $700million, pulls $700B bailout in backroom crimes. At

3 pages and "a billion a word", Paulson gets the banks their bailout, ".. never subject to judicial review.."

Prof. Black - How did the losses occur - like a dam failing. Years of a small leak rotting away until unsound and sections failing in minutes.

Geithner, FDIC stoog, ex Goldman Sacks(got $65B) wreaked it all, Spread remaining $700B, crushed competition, and gave themselves million dollar bonuses...

Other Bush crooks, Rubins and Summers, got $115M & $5M + $100K/appearance...

All religions believe in justice. The Bishop of Chicago stands with workers and saw steel mills close. "Workers are right. With injustice, it would be better for

the rich to have never been born.."

EPILOG: Franklin Delinor Roosevelt, to sick to give the 1944 State of the Union message in person, filmed the most important part: An economic Bill of Rights -

1. The right to a renumerative job.

2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food, clothing, recreation.

3. The right of all businesses to trade freely, to operate free of monopolies - foreign and domestic.

4. The right of every family to a decent home.

5. The right to adequate medical care and opportunity for good health.

6. The right to protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.

7. The right to a good education.

8. All of these rights spell security and a new happiness and well being.

FDR SUMMARY: "America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part on how fully these and similiar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens."

(It seems like Europe/Japan got our economic Bill of Rights)

MM, but we got Katrina screwup - "Why are the poor always left to suffer and die."

MM, "I refuse to live in a country like this - and I'm not leaving."..


"dead peasants" was a shocker. The fact that companies took out life insurance and declared themselves as the beneficiary without the person knowing, was a shocker too.

Good summary of the movie kelly. There was so much good stuff, it was hard to keep track, but you did an excellent job...thanks :)



There was so much - and then more.. the $1700->$2700 evicted farmer Hacker's of Peoria, ILL. - Condo Vultures Inc. Miami, Fl. Peter Zoluski ~1900, once rich paid 90% tax, yet still lived, " Bogy and Bacall". This was used for roads, dams, ..

Chicago, Republic Windows fires all 250 workers, PA Child Care (PACC) Inc kid jailing, Moore/his dad looking at razed AC spark plug plant, MM telling GM's fate 20 years prior ("Roger and Me"), regional airline pilots $20k union-busting <$20k salary(a Taco Bell mgr better paid)"don't get food stamps in uniform" ...

Sualk, polio vacine - could have licensed and become super rich. response, "Would you license the sun?" Congresswoman Kaptur from Congress floor, "Banks can't account - unless lawyer appears with papers, stay in your foreclosed home. The Banks have commited so many crimes." and on and on...

Perhaps, without $700 Billion tax dollars having been stolen, Boeing and Honeywell would not be going to the Abu Dhabi Masdar Institute for halophytes studies.


PA Child Care was corporate corruption at its worse. When excessive profits are possible, it attracts lots of people. Even if they have to lie, cheat and steal, they will pursue those profits. Look at Haliburton and Blackwater for examples, when the Iraqi gold rush was on, they came out of the woodwork to pad the bill.

If so much money had not gone into the middle east for high priced oil that last 8 years, this story would just be another renewable fuels story done in southern California by the public and private sectors in the U.S.

Like the movie Syriana said, "100 years from now, you will be back riding camels in the desert". I think some in the middle east are a bit more aware of that than people may realize.


It seems my follow-up comment isn't being posted.


I guess the " you can't refuse" are too financial.


The middle east used to send students to U.S. schools for advanced studies. The latest trend is to bring western educators to the middle east to teach. This could be a trend where we see more grants and projects done over there.


Again, freedom of speech attempts...


There are many talented professionals working in all fields at good wages in the middle east and they are generally well treated.
One would hope that the cultural differences can become better appreciated so the best parts gain some traction.

Keep trying Kelly, I want to know what you had to say.

The Greencar site system isn't prefect, try later or watch for flag words in your text. I find the former more reliable.
- Fickle things those programs.


Fickle as well as frustrating. You type a comment and some machine program decides if you should be restricted or not. This would make a good science fiction nightmare movie.

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