Innovation That Matters

Old clothing to be turned into airplane biofuel


Recycling company Japan Environmental Planning is working with Japan Airlines to develop cotton-derived bioethanol for commercial use by 2030.

Japan Airlines, Tokyo’s Green Earth Institute and recycling company Japan Environmental Planning (Jeplan) have formed a partnership to develop commercial bioethanol. Using Jeplan’s technology, used cotton garments are broken down through fermentation to release the necessary sugars to produce the fuel. The company is already working with an extensive network of retailers, helping them recycle extraneous and used goods.

Although cotton does not yield huge amounts of fuel, the company plans to incorporate other fibers and types of waste into the process, including paper, to increase the volume of production. Jeplan is currently building the first experimental fuel plant and hopes to begin test flights in 2020 using a combination of the new bioethanol and conventional oil. If tests are successful, the partnership plans to begin commercial production in 2030.

From human waste to household garbage, renewable energy projects are turning what would normally become pollution into more sustainable power supplies. What do entrepreneurs need to do to create commercially available, competitively priced carbon neutral fuel?

Image source: Japan Airlines



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