19 Jan 2014 11:30

Etihad Airways, Boeing [NYSE:BA], Takreer, Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology today announced they will collaborate on a new initiative – BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability – to support a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the United Arab Emirates. 

BIOjet Abu Dhabi will engage a broad range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive framework for a UAE biofuel supply chain, including research and development and expanded investment in feedstock production and refining capability in the UAE and globally. 

BIOjet Abu Dhabi was announced one day after Etihad Airways conducted a demonstration flight with a Boeing 777 powered in part by the first UAE-produced biokerosene from an innovative plant biomass-processing technology. The biofuel was partially converted from biomass by Total and its partner Amyris. Takreer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC), did the final aviation biofuel distillation, adding the UAE to a handful of countries that have produced and flown on their own biokerosene. 

The Masdar Institute’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, funded by Etihad Airways and Boeing, is currently researching and developing salt-tolerant plants that would be raw material for the same refining processes to produce renewable fuel. 

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said, “In collaboration with our key partners, our goal is to support and help drive the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally. We have made some important first steps in this process and our continued focus will be to develop further initiatives such as this which will facilitate the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels for Etihad Airways in the coming years.” 

The Etihad Airways demonstration flight and announcement of BIOjet Abu Dhabi were held in the run-up to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the World Future Energy Summit, hallmarks of UAE leaders’ commitment to sustainable energy development. BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability is aligned with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which seeks to develop sustainable energy sources to diversify the UAE economy and increase workforce opportunities for Emiratis. 

Jeffrey Johnson, President of Boeing Middle East, said: “With further commitment and investment, the UAE, a global leader in commercial aviation, is well-positioned to lead efforts to make our industry more sustainable. Boeing, which works with partners around the world to advance sustainable biofuel development, sees great opportunity for BIOjet Abu Dhabi to have a positive impact in the UAE and globally.” 

Jasem Ali Al Sayegh, Chief Executive Officer of Takreer, said: “Takreer is proud to have been involved in refining this product at its Abu Dhabi research centre. We support the concept of using biofuel as a sustainable aviation fuel for a cleaner future in line with ADNOC’s sustainability policy. We see this strategy as complementary to our future plans in meeting the rapid growth in demand for jet fuel in the country and the region in view of the expansion of the operations of airlines here.” 

Bernard Clément, Senior Vice President of Total New Energies, added: “As a long-lasting partner of Abu Dhabi and responsible oil and gas producer, Total is proud to participate in the BIOjet Abu Dhabi initiative, and to assist the Emirate in the diversification of its energy mix. This demonstration flight – the first of its kind in the Middle East - illustrates the capacity of Total to integrate, as of today, aeronautical biofuels in a concrete and reliable way. Improving energy efficiency and leveraging the potential of renewables have become fully embedded in Total’s business model with concrete achievements in biofuels as well as in the solar sector.” 

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “The collaboration for BIOjet Abu Dhabi reflects our partners’ commitment to sustainable biofuel, a concept that is currently being implemented from our side through the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium. We remain focused on identifying commercially viable means for the production of sustainable aviation fuel and welcome the new initiative that will pave the way for faster adoption of such fuel by the industry. With our expertise, we will continue our contribution towards offering clean energy solutions for the benefit of all stakeholders.” 

Etihad Airways is an airline industry leader in supporting the development of lower-carbon renewable fuels. A member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), the airline operated the Gulf region’s first biofuel flight in January 2011 with a Boeing 777 delivery from Seattle to Abu Dhabi powered by a blend of petroleum-based and certified plant oil-based jet fuel.

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