Boeing has announced it will join with Etihad Airways, Takreer, Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to collaborate on a new initiative to develop a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The initiative, BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability, will engage a wide range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive framework for a UAE biofuel supply chain by focusing on research and development and investments in feedstock production and refining capability in the UAE and globally.
Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates, recently showed homegrown biofuel’s promise during a 45-minute demonstration flight in a Boeing 777 powered in part by UAE-produced sustainable aviation biofuel. The biofuel was partially converted from plants by Total and refined into jet fuel by Takreer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.
UAE is now among a handful of countries that have produced and flown on their own aviation biofuel, which emits at least 50 percent less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel over its lifecycle.
"In collaboration with our key partners, our goal is to support and help drive the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally," said Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan. "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."
Boeing and Etihad Airways also are among the founding partners of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, hosted by the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. The consortium has been researching and developing salt-tolerant plants that would be raw material for the same refining processes used to produce renewable fuel for the Etihad Airways flight.
The flight and BIOjet Abu Dhabi announcement kicked off Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the World Future Energy Summit. These activities and Masdar Institute's aviation biofuel research are 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.
"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," said Jeffrey Johnson, president, Boeing Middle East. "Boeing works with partners around the world to advance sustainable biofuel development and sees great opportunity for BIOjet Abu Dhabi to have a positive impact in the UAE and globally."
Boeing regularly collaborates with airlines, research institutions, governments and other stakeholders to develop sustainable biofuel supply chains around the world, including the United States, Middle East, China, Brazil, Europe and Australia.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, last month Delta Air Lines joined oil industry trade groups to fight the U.S. biofuel mandate requiring refiners to meet an annual biofuel quota either through production or through the purchase of credits. Through its refinery unit, Monroe Energy, Delta filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that challenges the EPA’s 2013 renewable fuel requirements.
In other biofuel news, a transportation fuel technology commercialization company called Blue Sun Energy recently implemented its enzymatic biodiesel processing technology at its 30 million gallon per year biodiesel production facility in St. Joseph, Missouri, making it the most advanced in the world. Blue Sun claims to have fully commercialized the enzymatic process technology, which will give it a clear competitive advantage in the biodiesel market. The process at the St. Joe refinery produces high-quality biodiesel, which is further improved by the state-of-the-art distillation system installed last year at the refinery.