Para 2015 se espera un consumo cercano a los 325 millones de toneladas de combustible para avión, así que la investigación de biocombustible a través de plantas desérticas puede suponer un buen ahorro para el sector y un gran beneficio para el medioambiente. Una reducción del 1% puede evitar 10,25 millones de toneladas de CO2, y todo por regar unas plantas con agua de mar.

Resulta que Boeing y varios organismos de investigación asociados en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos (EAU) han dado con la clave para producir biocombustibles de forma más eficiente a través de plantas del desierto, teniendo en cuenta que este país, por sus características climáticas, se ha convertido en líder del uso de la tierra del desierto.

Al parecer, las plantas del desierto de esta zona del mundo regadas con agua de mar producen biocombustible de forma más eficiente que otras fuentes conocidas, y además permitiría permitiría otras muchas aplicaciones potenciales en otras partes del mundo.

[quote]”Un verdadero avance en el camino para desarrollar un combustible de aviación realmente sostenible a partir de una fuente vegetal renovable que se adapta a nuestro entorno natural”.[/quote] James Hogan, presidente de Etihad Airways

El Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), adscrito al Masdar Institute of Science and Technology de Abu Dabi, será el encargado de poner en práctica este desarrollo mediante un proyecto para la producción de biocombustibles a partir de plantas en zonas áridas como los EAU. “Las plantas denominadas halófitas son aún más prometedoras de lo que esperábamos como fuente de combustible renovable para los reactores y otros vehículos”, explica el director del SBRC, Alejandro Ríos.

Plantar biocombustible en el desierto

Plantas halófitas para crear biocombustible
Plantas halófitas para crear biocombustible

Concretamente, las semillas de las plantas halófitas producen un aceite idóneo la producción de esta energía renovable, y lo mejor es que la investigación del consorcio ha descubierto que la totalidad de estas plantas arbustivas puede convertirse en biocombustible de forma más eficiente que otras materias primas.

Esta institución, financiada por Boeing, Etihad Airways y Honeywell UOP, se dedica al desarrollo y la comercialización de biocombustibles de aviación sostenibles, que reducen las emisiones de carbono entre un 50% y un 80% con respecto a los carburantes fósiles a lo largo de su ciclo de vida.

A partir de 2015, los científicos “plantarán” combustible y regarán dos cosechas de halófitas en un ecosistema experimental en el suelo de Abu Dabi, que regarán con agua residual salada procedente de una piscifactoría. Por si fuera poco, a medida que crecen las plantas también la limpian, con lo que puede ser devuelta al océano a través de un manglar cerrando el círculo de la producción sostenible del biocombustible.


Imágenes | FernandoSTManuel Anastácio
Fuente | Europa Press

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