Japan's second-largest airline wants to turn discarded clothes into biofuel. Here's how!
Credit: Flights Nation / Trusted Clothes
Humans waste a lot. That's a fact. Fortunately, Biofuel technology could allow some of the items citizens throw away – namely clothes – to be recycled and used for purposes the majority might benefit from.
Nikkei Asian Review reports that Japan Airlines, the nation's second-large airplane company, is intent on transforming used clothing into jet fuel. The venture is a collaboration between the airline company, recycling firm Japan Environmental Planning (Jeplan), and the Green Earth Institute.
A plan was developed that entails clothes being sourced from retailers that might otherwise be thrown away. Using a kind of fermentation technology that breaks down the sugars contained in cotton into alcohols, the garments can be turned into a biofuel. At present, Jeplan is in the process of building an experimental fuel plant at one of its factory locations. Trials to begin test flights using a blend of standard and cotton-derived fuel will begin as early as 2020! By 2030, the company aims for the commercial flight plant to be established.
Already, Jeplan works with 12 retailers, including Aeon and Muji prarent Ryohin Keikaku, to collect used garments at around 1,000 stores across Japan. Michihiko Iwamoto, who founded Jeplan in 2007, explained:
"I totally believed that in the future, there would be a car that runs on garbage. But years went by, and that didn't happen. So I thought I'd develop it."