Japan Airlines, or JAL, plans to build Japan's first plant that will turn waste into fuel to be used as biofuel in its planes, economic daily Nikkei reported Thursday.
JAL is building its first demonstration complex in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, aiming to get the fuel ready for use in their aircraft by 2020; the same year that Japan will host the Olympic Games in the capital.
The company, together with other companies and organizations, including Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is researching the ideal design for the plant, whose cost is estimated to be a little less than $42 million, reported Nikkei.
Hydrogen and carbon monoxide produced in a waste disposal plant in Chiba will be converted into aircraft fuel using catalytic agents (substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed by that reaction).
The airline plans to mix the product with kerosene, a petroleum product that is used as fuel for jets, once it secures approval for its use in airplanes.
JAL also plans to market this new technology through a foreign company that could reduce the estimated price of fuel made from waste to about $120 a barrel, at par with the price of kerosene, in large scale production.
JAL's parent airline All Nippon Airways, or ANA Holdings, has also announced plans to sell biofuel made from algae in collaboration with Euglena in 2020.
Airlines around the world have agreed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the coming years, and many have begun to adopt plans to make alternative fuels produced from plants and waste.
British Airways was one of the first to announce plans to build a plant next to the American Solena Fuels to convert municipal waste from London into fuel for their planes.