x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Etihad conducts test flight from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain using 10% biofuel

In a move to support clean energy, Etihad Airways flew a trial flight that carried a blend of 10 per cent of biofuel.

In a move to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, Etihad Airways has flown a trial flight that carried 10 per cent of biofuel.

The Boeing 777 flight from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain took 45 minutes and was part of the Biojet Abu Dhabi initiative, which is a collaboration between Etihad Airways, the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the Abu Dhabi oil refining company Takreer, the French energy company Total and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

The initiative aims to support a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the UAE. Biofuel can be produced using agricultural waste or plants like algae.

“Our goal is to support and help drive the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally,” said James Hogan, the chief executive of Etihad.

“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,” he said.

The Al Ain flight used a blend from a conventional jet fuel and a biomolecule produced by fermentation of lignocellulosic material, or plant dry matter. The biofuel was partially converted from biomass by Total and its partner Amyris.

Takreer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), undertook the final aviation biofuel distillation.

“Takreer is proud to have been involved in refining this product at its Abu Dhabi research centre,” said Jasem Ali Al Sayegh, the chief executive of Takreer.

“We see this strategy as complementary to our future plans in meeting the rapid growth in demand for jet fuel in the country and the region in view of the expansion of the operations of airlines here,” he added.

Etihad previously flew from Seatle to Abu Dhabi using biofuel made from used cooking oil in a process called hydro-treatment, which is now approved for use up to a 50 per cent blend with regular jet fuel.

The latest Etihad flight and the Biojet Abu Dhabi initiative fall under Abu Dhabi’s 2030 economic plan, which seeks to develop sustainable energy sources and diversify the nation’s economy.

selgazzar@thenational.ae