Boeing and Honeywell subsidiary UOP have joined forces to commission a study on the sustainability of a family of saltwater-based plants called Halophytes as candidates for renewable jet fuel.

Halophytes can be highly productive sources of biomass energy, which thrive in arid conditions and can be irrigated with sea water, making them ideal for biofuel development.

The study will evaluate aquaculture management and practices, land use and energy requirements and identify potential adverse ecological or social impacts of using halophytes for energy development, specifically for aviation biofuel development.

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and UOP will participate in the study to examine the overall potential for sustainable, large-scale production of biofuels made from the halophyte family.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes environmental strategy managing director Billy Glover said that by working with Masdar they will learn whether or not certain halophytes types meet the carbon reduction and socio-economic criteria to allow them to become sustainable biofuels for aviation.

Data gathered during the analysis will be reviewed by third parties and results are expected in late 2010.