1. Salt-tolerant and arid land biomass
Salt-tolerant and arid land biomass
2. Releasing and capturing bioenergy
A common downside of current generation fuel crops is their competition for agricultural resources (arable land, irrigation freshwater, fertilizers) with food crops, therefore economically impacting the agricultural landscape worldwide. Socio-economic impacts of conventional fuel crops are particularly felt on at-risk or marginalized communities, where this resource competition between fuel and food crops leads to a direct increase in prices of traditional dietary staples. Potential environmental impacts due to indirect land-use change and intensive energy requirements may also mean that these biofuel feedstocks are not truly sustainable. By basing the fuel crop production on halophytes, the SEAS platform aims to completely avoid this issue, which uses non-arable land for agricultural purposes. In addition, it can enable sustainable agroforestry practices in arid, biomass-poor regions: given the existing lack of suitable crops and biomass sources in desert arid regions, a platform such as SEAS will unlock this biomass industry worldwide in some of the highest solar energy potential regions, that are hamstrung by lack of access to freshwater resources.
Releasing and capturing bioenergy
3. Synthesizing bioenergy
SEAS can increase the capability of bioenergy and carbon capture systems to de-carbonize the UAE’s energy mix: all SEAS subsystems can directly or indirectly lead to de-carbonization efforts for industry-wide activities. Its primary objective of enabling the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) feedstocks will directly address the needs of the aviation industry, which represent about 2% of worldwide human-induced CO2 emissions.
4. Supporting technology
Halophytic biomass that can be produced through the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System can be converted through the Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) pathway to transforms vegetable oils and animal fats into Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK). The first commercial flight fueled with jet fuel produced through SBRC’s SEAS took off on January 15, 2019, serving as a proof of concept for the SEAS platform and demonstrating the feasibility of establishing the complete supply chain for Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the UAE.
The SEAS is an anchoring platform for a complete sustainable industrial ecosystem with multiple activities that can complement each other: development of the SEAS concept is a holistic approach that includes both upstream and downstream processes needed for the full establishment of the SEAS facilities. Therefore, scaling-up the SEAS concept to commercial scale will unlock market demand for various synergistic activities, ranging from supply of consumables to certification and regulation, to logistics & market distribution, all of which will increase the portfolio of industries that can be targeted for sustainable investment opportunities.
The SEAS platform is an integrated process that utilizes marginal resources to create an industrial ecology to provide biomaterials and bioenergy in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Using engineered ecosystems approach to technology development, all subsystems within the SEAS concept aim to maximize upcycling and to minimize impacts, trying to account for all externalities to meet its triple-bottom-line (social, economic and environmental).