In 2016, Japan Airlines (JAL) announced its intention to convert used clothing into jet fuel. That is a big step taken by JAL in working with environmental companies and retailers to find alternative energy solutions that will be tested in 2020.
Recycling is indeed a good way to reduce waste. The fashion and textile industries were also declared as the second largest polluted industry after oil and gas. The idea of processing used clothing is certainly a good alternative to creating new functions of goods that are already unused rather than stacking them into the garbage.
Japan Airlines Collaborates with Jeplan
To make it happen, JAL collaborated with Jeplan (Japanese Environmental Planning) and the Tokyo-based Green Earth Institute. They set up a collaborative council for projects that were created earlier in 2017.
Regarding the recycling process of used clothing, Jeplan has worked with 12 retailers such as Aeon and Muji Operators Ryohin Keikaku. By working together they collect raw materials in the form of used clothing in 1,000 or more shops throughout Japan as polyester recycling fuel. They even received technical assistance from GEI which was able to convert cotton as raw material for clothing into fuel as well.
Based on nikkei.com reports, GEI was established to develop biofuel technology developed by the government. The technology also received support from the Innovative Technology Research Institute for the Earth for practical use. This method uses microorganisms to process the sugar contained in cotton to be converted into alcohol and make it as fuel.
The plan is to make experimental fuel plants at the Jeplan plant and flight tests using conventional mixed fuels and those from cotton will begin in 2020. Meanwhile, commercial production will be built and run in 2030.
Japan Airlines Prepares Recycled Fuel
One hundred tons of cotton can produce 10 kiloliters of fuel. Although all cotton consumed in total in Japan is used in fuel production, the results will only reach around 70,000 kl or more. This figure is less than 1% of Japanese jet fuel usage.
However, the sophisticated technology of GEI not only can process cotton but also can process waste from paper mills and other facilities. The company only sees clothing as the beginning of extensive waste conversion efforts.
Fuels made from organic sources such as cotton do not guarantee carbon dioxide free at the distillation stage. However, the fuel can reduce CO2 emissions by half of fossil fuel production. This method is effective for reducing pollution.
Even if only partially, replacing conventional jet fuel with biofuel will have a big impact by reducing emissions from an airplane. This is one of the global efforts to combat climate change which has increasingly troubled citizens of the earth.
Other efforts have also been made to convert municipal waste into fuel. The aim is to make a stable supply of alternative fuels at prices that rival petroleum products.
This effort is certainly very good for the environment because the impact is reducing environmental pollution. It is appropriate for us to always take care of the earth so that its survival will be maintained. The sophisticated technology should make it easier for us to create new innovations that do not hurt the environment. Japan Airlines has given a good example.