An estimated 700,000 tonnes per annum of municipal waste in Abu Dhabi, could potentially be converted into jet fuel or other energy sources, Tadweer, the Centre of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi announced on Tuesday.

Etihad Airways and Tadweer are set to collaborate on a landmark research project to explore how municipal waste can be converted into jet fuel.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the project has economic advantages as well, as the cost of production could be as low as 50 percent of average international oil prices.

Etihad and Tadweer signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Etihad’s headquarters on Tuesday. The MoU mandates the two entities to undertake an initial feasibility study towards developing a flagship waste-to-fuel facility in Abu Dhabi.

Therefore, the adoption of waste-to-energy is one area in which the aviation industry can reduce its carbon footprint, which currently accounts for two per cent of global emissions.

According to recent industry estimates, the long-term production of sustainable and renewable jet fuel could allow Etihad Airways to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 90 percent.

The project aims to bolster local sustainability efforts carried out by Tadweer, which is responsible for implementing Abu Dhabi’s waste management strategy and services.

Representing a major development in the adoption of sustainable fuel, one of the aims of the project would be to use the final jet fuel on Etihad Airways’ flights.

Following the initial study, Etihad Airways and Tadweer will explore the possibility of developing a long-term project with additional partners.

The project’s progress and other carbon offset opportunities will be coordinated through a joint work committee comprising Etihad Airways and Tadweer personnel.

Other sustainable fuel projects undertaken by Tadweer include a facility that recycles cooking oil into biofuel, set to open later this year.

Etihad Airways has significant experience in this field through its work as a member of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium, which oversees a world-first initiative to produce both food and fuel in desert lands irrigated by seawater.

The project will generate biofuel from plant seeds grown using seawater and nutrients from an environmentally-friendly aquaculture system that provides a sustainable source of seafood. (GULF NEWS)