Seawater farming in Abu Dhabi


What if you could grow biofuels on land nobody wants, using just seawater and sunlight, and produce food at the same time? That’s precisely what a new project in Abu Dhabi is seeking to do. The Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System, or ISEAS, will grow sustainable food and aviation fuel in the desert, using seawater and sunshine, in a way that is eminently transferable to similar arid regions around the world. The project was announced in January 2015 and is now under construction. So, how does the project solve the biggest environmental problems? It involves the use of salt-tolerant plants like mangroves and the oil-rich Salicornia as well as aquaculture of seafood such as shrimps and fish. The project was developed through the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in Abu Dhabi. Partners include the airline Etihad Airways, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, as well as corporate giants Boeing, General Electric and UOP Honeywell. These corporations provide the funding and a potentially vast market.