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Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC)


The objective of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium is to lay the foundation for arid land and saltwater-based sustainable aviation fuels.

Research & Development

Value-chain step
Full Value-chain

Type of pathway
HEFA-SPK (near-term) / FT-SPK (mid-term)

Starting time and duration
2011 -

Research institutions, airlines, manufacturers

Regional scope

Involved countries
United Arab Emirates


The Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) is leading a research and demonstration project designed to study the commercial viability of halophyte-derived jet fuel and bioenergy.


The Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) includes three basic components, namely, aquaculture and halophyte agriculture and agroforestry. Agronomic research on halophyte plants such as Salicornia bigelovii, and other local species, has produced very promising results in the potential to scale the production of these types of feedstocks. The use of non-arable desert land and sea-water irrigation really sets this system apart from traditional biomass production.


The project uses aquaculture effluent from fish and shrimp farms to provide the majority of the nutrient content to the Salicornia fields, with the leftover effluent being treated by a mangrove wetland.


In line with a presentation delivered during the First ICAO Stocktaking Seminar toward the 2050 Vision for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, the SBRC's projected aviation fuel production from 2019-2032 using Salicornia is shown below:


2019-2021150-600 L/year
2022-202675,000-195,000 L/year
2027-20317,600,000-19,600,000 L/year
2032-75,700,000-194,500,000 L/year


In addition to aviation fuel, the project contemplates the production of biomass-based electricity and other biofuels, as well as food from the aquaculture operation.



Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Etihad Airways, ADNOC Refining, The Boeing Company, Safran , GE, and Bauer Resources GmbH

Achievements to date
In September 2016, the SBRC collected their first harvest of their salicornia fields. The Salicornia was processed into aviation fuel during 2018, and a first flight using a small amount of Salicornia derived fuel took place on January 15, 2019, on the route Abu Dhabi – Amsterdam.

Click here to view a video that presents this work. 
Contact information

Dr. Alejandro Rios G.,  Director

Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium

Chief Research Scientist

Khalifa University of Science and Technology

PO Box 127788, Abu Dhabi, 

United Arab Emirates


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