Jet Fuel of the Future is … Your Used Clothing?

Jet Fuel of the Future is…Your Used Clothing? A blog post by EcoGoodz, a used clothing wholesale supplier

Whether it’s fossil fuel or bio-fuel, fuel is dependent on a stable supply source. One of the problems with fossil fuel is that supply is finite. Similarly, one of the problems with bio-fuel is that (due to weather, soil conditions, etc) supply can be unpredictable. Is there such a thing as a reliable, readily available source of fuel? Yes: Used clothing. Japan Airlines is creating biofuel for its planes by fermenting used clothing.

In June 2008 it was reported that Japan Airlines (JAL) planned to “fly Asia’s first commercial jet flight powered by biofuel.” (source) The reduction of C02 emissions, as well as increasing oil prices were sited as contributing factors to the development of new fuel sources. “I believe we can help promote the development of biofuels and contribute to the path for their practical use,” JAL President and Chief Executive Haruka Nishimatsu told a news conference in Tokyo…it is problematic to depend on petroleum-based fuels also in terms of sustainability,” Nishimatsu said. (source)Used Clothing is the Jet Fuel of the Future, a blog post by EcoGoodz

In 2009 JAL successfully completed test flights using a fuel made up of camelina, jatropha, and algae–all of which are plant-based (source). Of the flight, JAL released the following statement: “The demonstration flight brings us ever closer to finding a greener alternative to traditional petroleum-based fuel. When biofuels are produced in sufficient amounts to make them commercially viable, we hope to be one of the first airlines in the world to start powering our aircraft using them.” Problems arose, however, with the growth and harvest of the jatropha plant.

In 2015 JAL reaffirmed their commitment to biofuel and the reduction of carbon emissions, and began working with Boeing. Of the partnership, George Maffeo, president of Boeing Japan, said in a press release that “Boeing is proud to work with Japan’s aviation sector, including customers and the Japanese government, to achieve their ambitious goals for developing sustainable aviation biofuel. Building on our longstanding relationships in Japan, we are committed to help reduce aviation’s carbon emissions and its reliance on fossil fuel.” (source)

A few weeks ago it was reported that JAL was now creating biofuel by fermenting cotton, specifically cotton from used clothing. (source) The fermenting process breaks down the sugars in cotton and turns it into alcohol, which can then be used as fuel. They hope to test this fuel by 2020 and begin producing it commercially by 2030.