Chicago: Boeing on Tuesday announced it is joining forces with Honeywell's UOP to commission a study on the sustainability of a leading family of saltwater-based plant candidates in the search for renewable jet fuel.
The study is being commissioned as part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group consortium.
The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi will lead the study, which will examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from salicornia bigelovii and saltwater mangroves - plants known as halophytes.
Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and UOP will also participate in the analysis, which will include an assessment of the total carbon lifecycle of biofuels. Halophytes can be highly productive sources of biomass energy. They thrive in arid environments and can be irrigated with sea water, making them suitable for biofuel development.
With improved plant science and agronomy, early testing results indicate that halophytes have the potential to deliver very high yields per unit of land.
"Boeing and the scientific and academic communities are stepping forward to look at the totality of each renewable fuel source that can help us reduce carbon emissions," said Billy Glover, managing director of environmental strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"By working with MasdarAbu Dhabi Future Energy Company Institute to look at these species in a formal research framework, we will better know if certain types of halophytes meet the carbon reduction and socioeconomic criteria that will allow them to become part of a portfolio of sustainable biofuel solutions for aviation."
The halophyte study will evaluate aquaculture management and practices and land use and energy requirements.