How biofuels can benefit the UAE – and Etihad too

As the flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways has a critical mandate to help drive the country’s economic and social growth to ensure its competitiveness in the 21st century. And the ability to innovate is central to our success.

The fundamental role that innovation plays in propelling the nation forward was recently underscored by the launch of the National Innovation Strategy. The strategy provides a clear roadmap to enable the UAE to stimulate innovation in seven sectors: renewable and clean energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space. Etihad has a proven track record of advancing innovative solutions in many of these sectors, including education, energy and, of course, transportation.

In the education sector – a core focus area for the airline – Abu Dhabi is already benefiting from our strategic initiative to develop the national workforce. Today, we are creating employment opportunities, motivating young people and equipping them with the professional skills that empower them to fulfil their potential in an ever more competitive economy. In fact, our well-educated, skilled workforce has more than 1,700 Emiratis contributing to our success, accounting for over 18 per cent of the core workforce.

The National Innovation Strategy also emphasises the important role that public-private partnerships will play in developing new technologies, products and services.

Etihad has long championed collaboration as essential to stimulating innovation and driving real change within the transportation industry. That’s why we’re excited by our participation in a groundbreaking research project with Masdar Institute, Boeing and others that could put Abu Dhabi at the forefront of a global movement to create sustainable, alternative fuels whose production supports – not competes with – food security and water conservation.

Through an integrated, closed-loop system, the technology uses coastal seawater to raise fish and shrimp – for public consumption – and irrigates plants rich in oils that can be harvested for aviation biofuel production. The plants thrive in arid desert conditions and do not require fresh water or arable land to grow. And lastly, mangroves indigenous to the UAE are used to eliminate nutrients and waste from the food production before the water is discharged back into the sea.

This game-changing research promises to turn deserts into farmland – irrigated by seawater – to produce both bioenergy and food. And considering the UAE imports nearly 90 per cent of its food, the research has tremendous implications in addressing the country’s food security, while preserving its precious water reserves. In one stroke, the research has the potential to commercialise cutting-edge technology, supports efforts to ensure food and water security and contributes to the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy.

The research is being funded through a public-private partnership – the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium – established to develop technology with the promise of producing a clean, alternative fuel supply for the aviation sector. In addition to Masdar Institute, Etihad and Boeing, partners include Honeywell UOP, Safran and General Electric.

The partnership, with the support of the Abu Dhabi government, aims to take the integrated bioenergy system to commercial scale after proving its viability through a pilot project located at Masdar City – Abu Dhabi’s low-carbon urban development.

This is not the only initiative Etihad is leading to develop alternative sustainable fuels in the Middle East.

Earlier this year, a major initiative known as BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability was announced to engage a range of stakeholders in government and civil society to build the commercial framework and partnerships needed to develop a sustainable, aviation fuel supply chain in Abu Dhabi.

BIOjet Abu Dhabi was announced one day after Etihad conducted a demonstration flight with a Boeing 777 powered in part by the first UAE-produced aviation biofuel from an innovative plant biomass-processing technology. The biofuel was partially converted from biomass by Total and its partner Amyris. Takreer, the wholly owned oil-refining subsidiary of Adnoc, did the final distillation, adding the UAE to a handful of countries that have produced and flown on their own aviation biofuel.

As these projects clearly demonstrate, Abu Dhabi has the ability to become an innovation powerhouse, exporting not only products but knowledge around the world. Etihad is proud to be a part of that effort.

James Hogan is the president and chief executive of Etihad Airways.

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Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
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Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


1. Cecilie Hatteland (NOR) atop Alex - 31.46 seconds

2. Anna Gorbacheva (RUS) atop Curt 13 - 31.82 seconds

3. Georgia Tame (GBR) atop Cash Up - 32.81 seconds

4. Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed Al Maktoum (UAE) atop Peanuts de Beaufour - 35.85 seconds

5. Miriam Schneider (GER) atop Benur du Romet - 37.53 seconds

6. Annika Sande (NOR) atop For Cash 2 - 31.42 seconds (4 penalties)

Company Profile

Company name: Fine Diner

Started: March, 2020

Co-founders: Sami Elayan, Saed Elayan and Zaid Azzouka

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and food delivery

Initial investment: Dh75,000

Investor: Dtec Startupbootcamp

Future plan: Looking to raise $400,000

Total sales: Over 1,000 deliveries in three months

DMZ facts
  • The DMZ was created as a buffer after the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • It runs 248 kilometers across the Korean Peninsula and is 4km wide.
  • The zone is jointly overseen by the US-led United Nations Command and North Korea.
  • It is littered with an estimated 2 million mines, tank traps, razor wire fences and guard posts.
  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met at a building in Panmunjom, where an armistice was signed to stop the Korean War.
  • Panmunjom is 52km north of the Korean capital Seoul and 147km south of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
  • Former US president Bill Clinton visited Panmunjom in 1993, while Ronald Reagan visited the DMZ in 1983, George W. Bush in 2002 and Barack Obama visited a nearby military camp in 2012. 
  • Mr Trump planned to visit in November 2017, but heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing.

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company Profile

Company name: Big Farm Brothers

Started: September 2020

Founders: Vishal Mahajan and Navneet Kaur

Based: Dubai Investment Park 1

Industry: food and agriculture

Initial investment: $205,000

Current staff: eight to 10

Future plan: to expand to other GCC markets

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness'

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams

Rating: 3/5


Company name: Mozn

Started: 2017

Founders: Mohammed Alhussein, Khaled Al Ghoneim, Abdullah Alsaeed and Malik Alyousef

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding: $10 million

Investors: Raed Ventures, Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others

The bio

Who inspires you?

I am in awe of the remarkable women in the Arab region, both big and small, pushing boundaries and becoming role models for generations. Emily Nasrallah was a writer, journalist, teacher and women’s rights activist

How do you relax?

Yoga relaxes me and helps me relieve tension, especially now when we’re practically chained to laptops and desks. I enjoy learning more about music and the history of famous music bands and genres.

What is favourite book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I think I've read it more than 7 times

What is your favourite Arabic film?

Hala2 Lawen (Translation: Where Do We Go Now?) by Nadine Labaki

What is favourite English film?

Mamma Mia

Best piece of advice to someone looking for a career at Google?

If you’re interested in a career at Google, deep dive into the different career paths and pinpoint the space you want to join. When you know your space, you’re likely to identify the skills you need to develop.  



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Starring: Lily Collins, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Ashley Park

Rating: 2.75/5

Company profile

Company name: Xare 

Started: January 18, 2021 

Founders: Padmini Gupta, Milind Singh, Mandeep Singh 

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Funds Raised: $10 million 

Current number of staff: 28 

Investment stage: undisclosed

Investors: MS&AD Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners, Astra Amco, the Dubai International Financial Centre, Fintech Fund, 500 Startups, Khwarizmi Ventures, and Phoenician Funds

How to tell if your child is being bullied at school

Sudden change in behaviour or displays higher levels of stress or anxiety

Shows signs of depression or isolation

Ability to sleep well diminishes

Academic performance begins to deteriorate

Changes in eating habits

Struggles to concentrate

Refuses to go to school

Behaviour changes and is aggressive towards siblings

Begins to use language they do not normally use

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