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UOP, Masdar Institute, Boeing and Etihad Airways Establish Sustainable Aviation Biofuels Project Using Integrated Saltwater Agricultural Systems; Support from Global Seawater Inc.

An example of an ISAS operation: Seawater Farms Eritrea. Source: Dr. Carl Hodges. Click to enlarge.

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, Boeing and Etihad Airways are establishing a research institute in Abu Dhabi—the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Project (SBRP)—that will use integrated saltwater agricultural systems (ISAS) to support the development and commercialization of biofuel sources for aviation and co-products.

Boeing and UOP last year commissioned a study on the sustainability of a leading family of saltwater-based plant (halophytes) candidates for renewable jet fuel. The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology led the study, which examined the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from salicornia bigelovii and saltwater mangroves. (Earlier post.)

As part of the initial agreement signed by the partners on 17 January at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the SBRP will undertake research projects that combine the arid and salt-rich environment of Abu Dhabi with innovative and promising saltwater farming practices. The Masdar Institute will host the SBRP and provide laboratory and demonstration facilities both within and outside of Masdar City.

The SBRP team will focus on an ISAS approach, which is a highly efficient system for producing liquid and solid biofuels, capturing and holding carbon from the atmosphere, enlarging habitats to increase biodiversity, and simultaneously releasing fresh water for higher value uses such as drinking water. ISAS also has the potential to reduce the impacts of sea level rise on coastal communities.

The integrated approach uses saltwater to create an aquaculture-based farming system in parallel with the growth of the mangrove forests and Salicornia, a plant that thrives in salty water. These biomass sources can be sustainable harvested and used to generate clean energy, aviation biofuels and other products. The closed-loop system converts aquaculture effluent into an affordable, nutrient-rich fertilizer for both plant species. Developing low-cost, non-petroleum fertilizers is a key to achieving reductions in carbon emissions from any biofuel source. This technology has been pioneered by Dr. Carl Hodges of Global Seawater Inc., who has been engaged as special advisor to the project.

The development of low-cost, non-petroleum fertilizers is one of the keys to achieving genuine carbon emissions reductions from any biofuel source. This seawater farming concept has been successfully implemented in Mexico and Northern Africa by Global Seawater Inc., which will provide advice and insight to support the SBRP in Abu Dhabi.




The idea might sound seductive, however I don't think there is significant amount of land where you can use that type of agriculture. You can't simply water the soil with sea water even when growing salt resistant crop, because the salt concentration will grow overtime until even salt resistant crop won't take it. You can only do that in open pound connected to the sea where you have a minimum of water so the the salt concentration stay in an acceptable limits. When the salt concentration goes beyond a certain limit no life can strive in it just as in the "death sea"


Treehugger -
Because Salicornia bigelovii can be grown using saltwater and its seeds contain high levels of unsaturated oil (30 percent, mostly linoleic acid) and protein (35 percent),[7][8] it can be used to produce animal feedstuff and as a biofuel feedstock on coastal land where conventional crops cannot be grown. Adding nitrogen-based fertiliser to the seawater appears to increase the rate of growth and the eventual height of the plant,[9] and it has been suggested that the effluent from marine aquaculture (e.g. shrimp farming) could be used for this purpose.[7]

There are experimental fields of Salicornia in Ras al-Zawr (Saudi Arabia),[8] Eritrea (Northeast Africa) and Sonora (Northwest Mexico)[10] aimed at the production of biodiesel. The company responsible for the Sonora trials (Global Seawater) claims that between 225 and 250 gallons of BQ-9000 biodiesel can be produced per hectare (approximately 2.5 acres) of salicornia,[11] and is promoting a $35 million scheme to create a 12,000-acre (49 km2) salicornia farm in Bahia de Kino.[12] from Wikipedia


It looks like created wetlands are a fundamental part of the overall concept. Abu Dhabi has a lot of money and Dubai has shown they have no problem filling out in the ocean to do what they want. Big money for hot shot researchers, lots of land, limited red tape & limited governmental regulation should equal results.



oh yeah we have seen where the big projects in Dubai were leading. Saoudia has invested billions in growing food in the desert, after having depleted their aquifer reserves by 80% they came to the conclusion : growing crop in the desert is too expensive, even when you have petro dollard. So you never miss the opportunity to write a non sense or a stupidity, your last post is no exception



Ok and then ? 200 Gallons/hectare is a misery and absolutely not economical

Henry Gibson

Concentrated solar light can be used to operate gas turbines or Stirling engines to produce electricity that can be used for plug in hybrid cars which are usually parked during much of the peak daylight hours.

The cheapest way to store solar electricity is to turn down generators that use fossil fuel when solar or wind energy is available. The solar and wind power producers must arrange to pay for the construction, operation and carbon releases of these facilities and otherwise be held accountable for the environmental effects of both their facilities and the facilites that allow for the generation of power when their facilities are not in operation in addition to the costs of transportation over the grid.

Solar energy concentrators can also produce hydrogen with thermal chemical means, and small automated devices to do this need to be produced for operation with small(about 10 meter) parabolic collectors. Such machines will eliminate the need for agricultural biofuels and the water and fertilizer and fermenting and distiling units. Whilst hydrogen is not the cheapest fuel to transport and requires plastic or composite pipes, it moves quicker than any other gas in partial compensation.

The proposed generation of electricity or hydrogen will be up to three times more efficient in the use of land or sunlight than solar cells and far more than plants. Biofuels are not renewable and destroy the natural environment and cause hunger. ..HG..



I agree - not economical.


They are teaming with Boeing to produce liquid fuel for air travel, not surface travel.


Treebooger: These projects are not going to be done in the middle of the desert - they'll be at or near the coast. This project is obviously not being done by Dubai - I only mentioned Dubai because Abu Dhabi is one of it's neighbors and would no doubt not think twice about filling out into the ocean for any project they had in mind. Abu Dhabi has been defined as Dubai's "rich uncle" - more responsible less risky with its investments.

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