Jan 21, 2015 (SeeNews) - Abu Dhabi-based International Mechanical & Electrical Co LLC (IMECO) has won a contract to build a pilot plant in Masdar City that will use seawater-irrigated desert land to produce both aviation biofuel and food.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by the project sponsor -- Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), which includes the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Etihad Airways, The Boeing Company, Honeywell UOP, Safran and General Electric Co.
The project is based on a technology that does not require fresh water or arable land. It first uses coastal seawater to raise shrimp and other fish for food. The nutrient-rich fish waste that is released into the water will then be used to fertilise oil-rich plants, adapted to seawater, which can be harvested for the production of aviation biofuel.
SBRC director Alejandro Rios told Gulf News that the two-hectare facility will initially produce two tonnes of oil seed and 18 tonnes of biomass per hectare. The yield could be doubled in two to three years with simple agronomic adjustments, he has said. SBRC will seek to move to a 200-hectare site in order to produce more biofuel.
The pilot bioenergy facility is seen to be completed by late summer 2015. It will operate from three to five years, but the period could be extended.