Synergistic Seawater Biofuels Project Provides Food and Fuel with Minimal Impact

Synergistic Seawater Biofuels Project Provides Food and Fuel with Minimal Impact

by RP Siegel
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Combining #biofuels & #aquaculture to produce food & fuel in coastal deserts via @Justmeans @RPSiegel

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Friday, January 23, 2015 - 4:00pm



An interesting and potentially very exciting project was unveiled today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. It combines biofuels and aquaculture to produce a combination of food and fuel in the unique coastal desert environment that is found in the Middle East and numerous other places in the world. Considering the fact that 20% of the world's land area is desert and 97% of our water is salty, this is a considerable case.

Members of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium laid out the plan for what they are calling the Integrated Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (ISEAS), which aims to grow sustainable fuel and food in the desert.

Here's how it will work. Seawater is pumped into a series of ponds to grow fish and shrimp for food. Nutrient-rich wastewater from the ponds will be used to feed and water fields of salt-tolerant halophyte plants, which will be raised for biofuels. Fertilizer runoff will be diverted through mangroves, which will extract nutrients, and purify the waste stream for reuse,  storing carbon along the way. It is envisioned as essentially a closed-loop system, through some make up water will be required to account for evaporation.

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Image courtesy of Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium.

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post.