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Signing of MOA on Offshore Cultivation of Tropical Macro-Algae for the Production of Aviation Jet Fuel

The aviation community has committed itself towards a more sustainable aviation world by cutting down its emissions, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing its carbon footprint. This Memorandum of Agreement is part of that sustainability drive, focusing on the development of alternative source of feedstock for fuel. This research and technology collaboration brings together Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC), Airbus Group, University of Malaya, University Malaysia Terengganu, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, for a project titled “Offshore Cultivation of Tropical Macro-Algae for the Production of Aviation Jet Fuel”.

This collaboration is aligned to AMIC’s, commitment to Sustainable Aviation and seeks to catalyse the development of sustainable bio-jet fuel here in Malaysia. AMIC’s Sustainable Aviation activities are part of Airbus and Airbus Group’s worldwide action on Sustainable Aviation. Currently, the aviation industry contributes between 2 to 3% of global man-made CO2 emissions, or 705 million tonnes. The aviation industry is targeting a carbon neutral growth status by 2020, having a solid track record so far in reducing its emission. This is achieved through four pillars of innovation, namely, product technology, operations, air traffic management, and lastly, sustainable fuel.

AMIC is leading the way in sustainable aviation jet fuel research in the region. Macro-algae, or more commonly known as seaweed, is a known potential source of feedstock for bioenergy and biofuel.

Harnessing the expertise from four reputable universities in Malaysia, this project seeks to lay the foundations for a pioneering industry as part of the fuel supply value chain. University of Malaya will utilise its expertise, first in macro-algae, ocean environment, physical and chemical processes and analysis; and second, in nanotechnology, catalysis, fuel processing and conversion, and biofuel analysis. University Malaysia Terengganu will focus on design, engineering, and deployment of an offshore cultivation system for the tropical macro-algae. The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus will leverage on its proven track record of design and modeling of techno-economics, and the assessment of scenarios. And last but not least, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia will assess the social-environmental impact of rolling out and development such an industry here in Malaysia. AMIC, together with Airbus Group, will ensure the research is in line with aviation standards and requirements, and will assess the overall commercial viability of the technology.

The signing of this MOA will mark the start of an 18 months journey for the entire consortium, with a project delivery to the customer, Airbus Group, in 2017.

UNMC's involvement

UNMC will be conducting a techno-economic evaluation of the production of bio-diesel from macro algae.

“We are ideally placed to contribute our expertise and experience in ground-breaking research in the area of aerospace and we are looking forward to working closely with such outstanding partners. This project fits well with our aim to use our research expertise to address global challenges in the area of environmental sustainability,” said Professor Christine Ennew, CEO and Provost of UNMC.

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More information is available from Professor Andy Chan on or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus on +603 8924 8746,

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Posted on 12th April 2016

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