Etihad flight to Amsterdam uses fuel made from UAE plants

The journey to Amsterdam was powered by natural products

Etihad flight to Amsterdam uses fuel made from UAE plants

In a country known for world firsts, the UAE has done it again.

Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad Airways, has flown the world's first flight using fuel made here in the UAE from plants grown in saltwater.

The milestone comes after research found that jet fuel could be produced using desert land and sea water.

A project between Khalifa University, Etihad Airways, Boeing, ADNOC, Safran, GE and BAUER Resources, made the trip possible, it's all part of the UAE’s diversification plans and commitment to sustainability.

It's a huge step to developing a clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions.

Now this is where it all gets a bit complicated, so we'll quote directly from the information we've been given.

"The partners worked together to prove the concept of a comprehensive value chain that is centered around the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS). This is a synergistic industrial platform that supports the aviation sector, the oil and gas industry, food production and the creation of a new agricultural alternative in the UAE."

Etihad Airways has been at the forefront of aviation biofuel research in the region and this marks the first time that a flight has been operated on fuel derived from plants grown in saltwater.

Sustainable fuel for the flight was derived from oil in Salicornia plants, which were grown on the two-hectare SEAS farm in Masdar City. The SEAS is the world’s first desert ecosystem designed to produce fuel and food in saltwater. Fish and shrimp raised at the facility provide nutrients for the plants as well as contribute to the UAE’s food production.

Without wanting to get into too many technicalities, let's just say this is very good news for the planet.

Approximately 160,000 passenger flights have flown on a blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel since the first biofuels were given the green light for commercial use in 2011.

Using such fuels means the aviation industry can get to its goals of capping the growth of carbon emissions by 2020 and cut levels to half of what they were in 2005 by 2050.

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