DES PLAINES, Ill., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- UOP LLC, a Honeywell (NYSE: HON) company, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Boeing and Etihad Airways today announced an agreement to establish a research institute in Abu Dhabi dedicated to pioneering sustainable energy solutions.
The institute, 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 the initial agreement signed by the partners on Jan. 17 at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the SBRP will undertake research projects in the arid and salt-rich environment of Abu Dhabi that will feature innovative and promising saltwater farming practices. The Masdar Institute will host the SBRP and provide laboratory and demonstration facilities both within and outside of Masdar City, the world's first zero-carbon city.
"The paradigm for energy supply is shifting. To meet the growing demand for energy worldwide, we must identify regional biofuel solutions that are not only sustainable, but can actually regenerate the ecosystems where they are produced," said Jennifer Holmgren, vice president and general manager of Renewable Energy & Chemicals for Honeywell's UOP. "This project is a unique opportunity to showcase the viability of a geographically-optimized solution and the availability of technology that produces high-quality green transportation fuels."
The SBRP team will focus on an integrated seawater agriculture systems (ISAS) approach, which is a highly efficient system for producing liquid and solid biofuels, capturing and holding carbon from the atmosphere, enlarging habitats to increase biodiversity, and simultaneously releasing fresh water for higher value uses such as drinking water. ISAS also has the potential to reduce the impacts of sea level rise on coastal communities.
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 harvested sustainably and used to generate clean energy, aviation biofuels and other products. The closed-loop system converts aquaculture effluent into an affordable, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Developing low-cost, non-petroleum fertilizers is a key to achieving reductions in carbon emissions from any biofuel source. This technology has been pioneered by Dr. Carl Hodges of Global Seawater Inc., who has been engaged as special advisor to the project.
This revolutionary seawater farming concept has been successfully implemented in Mexico and Northern Africa by Global Seawater Inc., which will support the SBRP in Abu Dhabi.
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 seven percent target of renewables by 2020."
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' Chief Executive Officer, said: "The development of carbon-neutral sources of energy is of major importance to Etihad Airways and the aviation industry. We are delighted to be a key member of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Project, which will be based in Abu Dhabi and will be one of the most innovative schemes of this nature in the world."
Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: "Together with the Abu Dhabi government, Etihad Airways and other industry leaders, we are forging our energy future by developing a renewable fuel supply now. Developing and commercializing these low-carbon energy sources is the right thing for our industry, for our customers and for future generations."
Honeywell's UOP, the recognized leader in developing process technology for the refining and petrochemical industries, offers refining technologies for the conversion of natural oils and wastes to green transportation fuels. Its renewable energy development efforts include processing technology for the production of Honeywell Green Diesel™ fuel and Honeywell Green Jet™ fuel. Additionally, in 2008, UOP formed the joint venture Envergent Technologies LLC with Ensyn Corp. to offer pyrolysis technology that converts waste biomass into renewable heat, power and green transportation fuels.
UOP LLC, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, USA, is a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, process plants, and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries. UOP is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc. and is part of Honeywell's Specialty Materials strategic business group. For more information, go to www.uop.com.
Honeywell International (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
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SOURCE UOP LLC, a Honeywell company