Etihad Airways operates first biofuel (recycled cooking oil) powered delivery flight

For Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has taken delivery of a new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which flew from Seattle to Abu Dhabi using a  blend of plant-based jet fuel sourced from recycled vegetable cooking oil and traditional jet kerosene. The biofuel blend was supplied by SkyNRG. As a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, Etihad says it is committed to complying with a stringent set of sustainability principles when looking at biofuels, including ensuring feedstocks are non-competitive with food sources and that drinking water supplies are not jeopardised. Airlines are keen to use whatever biofuels they can now, as these fuels are classed as exempt under the EU ETS. They are working with the Masdar Institute to develop biofuels grown in sea water, with a 2km square test area.

Etihad becomes first Middle East carrier to use sustainable biofuel as it takes delivery of new Boeing aircraft

Wed 25 Jan 2012  (Green Air online)

Etihad Airways’ newest 777-300ER aircraft that arrived yesterday in Abu Dhabi from the Boeing factory in Seattle was powered on its 14-hour flight by a blend of plant-based jet fuel sourced from recycled vegetable cooking oil and traditional jet kerosene.

The biofuel blend was supplied by SkyNRG, which has virtually cornered the market availability of sustainable jet fuel just now, with involvement already in maiden commercial biofuel flights by carriers in Europe, Asia, the United States and now the Middle East.

Boeing helped Etihad source the fuel and also worked on testing the biofuel blend and other technical aspects associated with preparing for the flight.

“We think the Middle East has great potential to give a critical boost towards making a market for sustainable jet fuel that is affordable,” commented SkyNRG Managing Director Dirk Kronemeijer. “With this flight, Etihad Airways has taken a fantastic step, particularly in increasing awareness within this region. There is a lot more to come in this continent and we are determined to be there when that happens.”

For Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, it becomes the first airline to fly directly from an airplane manufacturer on biofuel and also the first Middle East carrier to use sustainable bio-derived jet fuel.

“This flight marks a significant milestone in our efforts to support and drive the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and globally,” announced the airline’s President and CEO, James Hogan.

“However, the use of a presently available biofuel is just one part of a more comprehensive long-term biofuel strategy to ensure that we are able to use biofuels to decarbonise substantially an entire industry sector in the long term.”

As a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), Etihad says it is committed to complying with a stringent set of sustainability principles when looking at opportunities for biofuel development and use, including ensuring feedstocks are non-competitive with food sources and that drinking water supplies are not jeopardised.

The airline is already committed to a five-year, $2 million programme in Abu Dhabi as part of the Masdar Institute’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC). The project, which launched in March 2009, is supporting research into the use of salt water tolerant plants as the basis for alternative aviation fuels.

Etihad also points out that the commercial viability of biofuels is gaining even greater importance as aviation carbon emissions face growing regulation around the world. Under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme that came into force on January 1, emissions from biofuels are considered exempt.


Etihad Airways – Environment


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Masdar Institute

The Masdar Institute, Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell to establish the UAE’s First Sustainable Bioenergy Research Project


Date ?   26th January 2012 ?

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Boeing, Etihad Airways and Honeywell’s UOP today announced an agreement to establish a major research and demonstration project in Abu Dhabi dedicated to sustainable energy solutions. The Sustainable Bioenergy Research Project (SBRP) will use integrated saltwater agricultural systems to support the development and commercialization of biofuel sources for aviation, and co-products.

As part of its initial work statement, the SBRP will undertake research projects that combine the arid and saline-rich environment of Abu Dhabi with innovative saltwater farming practices. The Masdar Institute will host the SBRP and provide laboratory and demonstration facilities both within and outside of Masdar City.

As an independent research university working in renewable energy development, the Masdar Institute ( will lead SBRP operations bringing strong scientific guidance to the project. According to the Provost of the Masdar Institute, Dr. John Perkins, “This project demonstrates the Masdar Institute’s strong desire to establish a world-class university dedicated to alternative energy, environmental technologies and sustainability. This project will for the first time demonstrate the commercial viability of using integrated saltwater agriculture to provide biofuels for aviation, and is consistent with the overall vision of Abu Dhabi to achieve a 7% target of renewables by 2020.”


The integrated approach uses saltwater to create an aquaculture-based farming system in parallel with the growth of mangrove forests and Salicornia, a plant that thrives in salty water. These biomass sources can be sustainably harvested and used to generate clean energy, aviation biofuels and other products. This 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.

The technology of evolutionary seawater farming has been pioneered by Dr. Carl Hodges of Global Seawater Inc. (GSI), who has been engaged as Special Advisor to the project. The project in Abu Dhabi will take place over an area of around 2 km².

Sustainable biofuel development is a key element of aviation’s carbon emissions reduction strategy. The SBRP will only seek solutions and lead research into biomass sources that do not distort the global food-chain, compete with fresh water uses or lead to unintended land use change. All phases of biomass cultivation for the project will be tested against the practices and principles developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and supported by members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (
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