Farmed fish earn cool points for helping fuel airplane

Liza Mayer
March 26, 2019
By Liza Mayer
Etihad Airways Boeing 787 flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on January 15 is historic because of the type of biofuel used
Etihad Airways Boeing 787 flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on January 15 is historic because of the type of biofuel used Credit: Adobe Stock
Is there anything farmed fish can’t do? Latest news has it that biofuel extracted from a desert plant called salicornia has powered a commercial airplane, a first in aviation history. So where does our hero come in? The fish fertilized the plant, making the biofuel even more sustainable.

“Etihad Airways is the world’s first airline to fly a passenger flight using biofuel made from desert plants grown in saltwater. The project…demonstrates how fish, farming and flight come together to provide food security and cleaner skies,” said Boeing, which manufactured the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that made the historic flight.

The company added: “Fish raised in a unique United Arab Emirates ecosystem further sustainability by fertilizing the plants while also providing food for neighboring communities, reducing the UAE’s need to import 85 percent of its food. Using sustainable feedstock to produce the fuel significantly reduces life-cycle carbon emissions compared to fossil fuel.”

UAE’s Minister of State for Food Security, Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al, says the initiative is “an important specialized initiative under the aquaculture umbrella, with the UAE recognizing that this sector represents one of the best uses of what is the region’s most precious resource and has consequently established its aquaculture sector with an investment of more than AED 100 million ($27.2 million) to develop hatcheries and fish farms.”

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