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Alarmed by the poor quality of fuel made from shale oil and tar sands and frustrated by the blunt refusal of oil companies to provide fuel of better quality, Boeing and its partners have over the past four years sponsored research into alternative fuels that has led to spectacular results. They found that there is a class of plants that can grow in deserts on salt water and has superb biomass potential. “Nobody knew this”, says Morgan. “It is a huge discovery. A game-changer for the biofuels market.” Karel Beckman has the story.
Morgan is not some green dreamer. He is Director of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Environmental Strategy at The Boeing Company in Seattle in the US. He has worked on Boeing’s biofuels program for 10 years. And he is convinced that researchers at the Masdar Institute, sponsored by Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP and Etihad Airways, have achieved a breakthrough in biofuels that will make it possible for countries all over the world to turn their deserts into biofuel-producing agricultural lands. We are on the verge, says the Boeing man, of a totally sustainable solution that does not require any arable land and that is going to replace a very big chunk of the oil currently used in transport.