Masdar Institute-led UAE biofuel research facility to begin first harvest in June

The world's first research facility to grow both food and fuel, using desert lands irrigated by seawater, will begin its first harvest in June, according to Etihad Airways. 

The biomass will be harvested and the oil extracted from the seeds. The plan is to have this oil refined to jet fuel and used on an Etihad Airways flight, a statement said.

The announcement comes as Peter Baumgartner, CEO of Etihad Airways, and Mohammad Al Bulooki, executive vice president commercial, joined Scott Fancher, Boeing senior vice president, at the integrated seawater and agriculture system facility within Masdar City to check on the project’s progress.

The facility, which uses seawater and natural fertiliser from aquaculture to grow plant biomass which can be converted into aviation fuel, is the flagship project of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium led by the Masdar Institute with members including Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, GE and Safran.

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