Julie Felgar, managing director of environmental strategy and integration at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Alejandro Ríos G., director of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi will lead a dual keynote session at the event.
Felgar and Rios will share insights on progress towards development of sustainable jet fuel, which reduces carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum-based fuel through its lifecycle. They will address breakthrough research at SBRC in the United Arab Emirates on the use of halophytes, desert plants that can be irrigated with seawater, as a biofuel feedstock.
Enabling local food security, socio-economic development and responsible use of land and fresh water, SBRC’s research has positive implications for potential production of sustainable bioenergy crops in coastal deserts in several countries.
For those who may know Felgar and Ríos G., Julie leads the team responsible for identifying ways to improve the environmental performance of Boeing products and services and the commercial aviation industry.
Working with stakeholders around the world, She is responsible for ensuring Commercial Airplanes has an integrated environmental strategy and a coordinated approach to environmental policy advocacy, biofuel commercialization and marketing. Felgar also works closely with Boeing’s product development team to incorporate the company’s Design for Environment philosophy into future commercial products.
Alejandro meanwhile is spearheading research in the use of salt-tolerant halophytes for the production of sustainable alternative fuels in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Ríos was the Director of ASA Fuel Services for 11 years, where he oversaw the operation and management of a network of over 60 fuel farms and their associated 2,000+ apron into-plane operations. He was the architect of the Plan de Vuelo (Flight Plan) initiative that is promoting the development of a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Mexico.
SXSW Eco, which last year drew over 2,800 attendees, strives to bring together key leaders in the areas of big data and technology, smart cities, health, business and finance, design, energy, food systems, land and water, and policy and advocacy.
In addition to the participation of Felgar and Ríos G., the conference has announced 27 sessions for the 2014 conference, including: “How Everyday Chemicals are Killing us,” a conversation with actor Evan Handler (Sex and the City, Californication), and Michael Green from the Center for Environmental Health. Additional session topics will include “Activating Digital Communities to Drive Change” (Blue State Digital, Rockefeller Foundation/100 Resilient Cities, Sierra Club) and “How Tech is Catalyzing Conservation Innovation” (World Wildlife Fund).
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