Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology have collaborated on a new initiative to support a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the UAE.

The initiative, titled ‘BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability’, will develop a framework for a UAE biofuel supply chain, including research and design, and investments in feedstock production and refining capability in the UAE and globally.

The initiative has been launched following Etihad Airways’s 45-minute demonstration of a flight equipped with a Boeing 777 powered in part by the first UAE-produced biokerosene from a plant biomass-processing technology.

Total and its partner Amyris have partially converted the biofuel from biomass, while Abu Dhabi National Oil’s 100% subsidiary Takreer has refined it into jet fuel, which releases at least 50% less carbon dioxide emissions compared to fossil fuel over its lifecycle.

“Total and its partner Amyris have partially converted the biofuel from biomass.”

Funded by Etihad Airways and Boeing, the Masdar Institute’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium has been researching and developing salt-tolerant plants, which could be used as raw material for the same refining processes to produce renewable fuel for the Etihad Airways flight.

The launch of the new initiative coincides with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which is aimed at developing sustainable energy sources and creating jobs.

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Etihad Airways president and CEO James Hogan said the collaboration will 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,” said Hogan.

Image: Etihad Airways, Boeing, Takreer, Total and Masdar announced new ‘BIOjet Abu Dhabi’ initiative. Photo: courtesy of Masdar Institute.