Masdar Institute to host Seawater Energy and Agriculture Forum

ABU DHABI, — The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, SBRC, a non-profit consortium supported by founding members Etihad Airways and Boeing, along with Takreer, SAFRAN and General Electric, today announced it is to organise the first International Seawater Energy and Agriculture Forum 2016 in Abu Dhabi.

To be held on 1st and 2nd November at the Masdar Institute Multi-Use Hall, the event will include the forum and a workshop on aquaculture and halophytes, to be organised in collaboration with the University of Arizona.

The forum will seek to create a knowledge-sharing platform for experts in aquaculture, halophyte agriculture and silviculture, or agroforestry, and the integrated approach for the production of energy and biomass.

During the forum, the SBRC will present the work it has been doing over the past few years, especially on its flagship project, the Seawater Energy and Agriculture System, SEAS. The forum will aim to strengthen collaboration among public, private, and non-profit organisations in the field of bioenergy.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said, “The Seawater Energy and Agriculture Forum is an excellent platform to discuss Masdar Institute’s contribution to the UAE’s efforts in renewable energy and in helping address the need for local food production. With the first research facility of its kind in the world, we are addressing energy, water and food-related issues through solutions from our own environment. We believe the SBRC will continue to carry out ground-breaking research work in the coming months.”

James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our goal is to support and help drive the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi. The SBRC has made some important first steps in developing this innovative system for producing sustainable feedstock and we are pleased to support this important knowledge driven forum.”

The University of Arizona has been assisting Masdar Institute in the development of the Salicornia accessions, which the SBRC is currently using for the project. The US university has also been supporting Masdar Institute with knowledge transfer in halophyte agriculture.

The SBRC’s SEAS initiative seeks to address the food security issues of the UAE through the development of an innovative practice of cultivating seafood and biomass for fuel using desert lands irrigated by seawater.

The launch of operations of the SEAS pilot farm is another strong step in the evolution of Masdar Institute. The world’s first research facility to grow both food and biomass for fuel, using desert lands irrigated by seawater, began operations in March 2016 on a 2-hectare site in Abu Dhabi.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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