Boeing reveals “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever”
In recent years, Boeing has “happened across” a new type of biofuel, a biofuel with some amazing natural benefits. First of all, the biofuel comes from a type of plant , halophytes, that can grow in the desert, not taking up valuable arable land.
Furthermore, these halophytes can be irrigated with saltwater, again solving one of the main downsides of conventional biofuels, their tremendous freshwater needs. For these reasons and others, it seems that halophyte biofuels can be produced at a low, competitive cost.
Notably, this big discovery wasn’t made purely by accident. Several years ago, when Boeing decided that it wanted to find a better fuel source than oil or conventional biofuels, it aimed to find a fuel that was genuinely sustainable. It didn’t want to run into the problems with powerful stakeholders or the environment that corn ethanol ran into. Sustainability was the focus all the way down to design.
When Boeing ran across the possibility of creating biofuel from these unique halophytes, back in 2009, it found that there were actually no patents related to such a process (globally).
Boeing then started the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in Abu Dhabi, partnering with Masdar Institute, Etihad Airways, and Honeywell’s UOP to work on researching the biofuel’s potential.