Outlined the updates and importance of Qatar Biofuel Project

QU revealed the biofuel project on the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP-18, which took place in Doha in 2012. The project, only one of its kind in the region, aims to find a way of producing affordable, sustainable biofuels which do not rely on the use of valuable arable land and which can be produced efficiently in the punishing climate of Qatar. These fuels should provide an additive source of energy, specifically for use by the airline industry. If successfully produced on a commercial scale, the discovery will have international ramifications — significantly reducing one of the airline industry’s biggest fixed costs and providing a sustainable, environmentally-friendly fuel where carbon dioxide is recycled rather than accumulating in the atmosphere. During an interview, Mr Hareb Al-Jabri, Director of CAS Sustainable Development Center (SDC) and Qatar Biofuel Project Manager, talked about the project’s updates and importance.

What is new in the biofuel project?

During the first phase of the project, the research team produced three types of biofuel — biodiesel, bioethanol and bio-crude oil. At the beginning of the second phase of the project, the team studied the economic feasibility of each type in order to specify which one of them aligns with the project’s aim. The team started with conducting the techno economic analysis for the production of each type of biofuel in line with the resources available and the exist infrastructure of oil and gas sector. At the end of the analytical study, we converted the overall biomass into bio-crude oil and then separated its components using the available refinery systems. We are currently developing the techniques of the production process while considering the volume and the quality of the product.

Tell us about the importance of Qatar Biofuel Project

This project adds value to the oil and gas sector in Qatar. It aims to support the vision of Qatar Airways, which is to use environmentally-friendly fuel in the airline industry in order to reduce the negative environmental effects of the conventional fuel. The project will also contribute to carbon dioxide sequestration by recycling it to produce biofuels. Additionally, the project aims to invest in Qatar’s natural resources to create products that will contribute to economic diversification, in line with the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 and the national aspirations towards a knowledge-based economy.

What is the role of CAS students in such research projects?

The SDC welcomes students from various colleges across QU and assists and supports them in the implementation of their graduation projects at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The students have the opportunity to contribute to the center’s research projects. Such opportunities help them enhance their knowledge and gain an in-depth experience in the field of research.

What is your opinion with regard to the national efforts towards the diversification of energy resources?

The State of Qatar has made huge efforts in the diversification of renewable energy resources. These efforts are highlighted in the Qatar National Strategy which started in 2011. The strategy focuses on the importance of supporting research projects related to the development of technologies for renewable energy, as well as to drive collaboration efforts with various local and regional institutions to produce renewable energy.

Tell us about the center’s new research projects

We are currently focusing on various applicable research projects to provide solutions for the challenges that are facing the State of Qatar in different areas such as environment, food and water security, health, energy and more. In this regard, the transfer of the results from research and development level into implementation level is a crucial part of the center’s strategy. Hence, we are currently building a new demo plant at the north of Qatar for the production of food, fuel and health products.

Source: Qatar University