Japan Airlines to start using biofuels made from household waste in 2022

Aviation Updates Philippines – Japan Airlines (JAL) will start using biofuels made from recycled household waste in 2022 as part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, company sources confirmed on Thursday, November 5.

Beginning April 2022 at the earliest, JAL will refuel select aircraft on flights between Japan and San Francisco using recycled aviation fuel produced by Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., a startup headquartered in Pleasanton, California.

JAL is aiming to meet its goal of net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 through the use of more advanced jets and fuels as well as purchasing emission credits from other airlines. At present, the company says it has already installed LED lighting in its maintenance facilities and is using power-saving lighting in its offices to conserve electricity.

In 2018, JAL invested around 900 million yen (US$8.6 million) in Fulcrum BioEnergy.

According to the Fulcrum BioEnergy, their waste to fuel process is "expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent compared to conventional crude oil production."

JAL has used biofuels sporadically in the past, but the Tokyo-based airline is hoping to ramp up its usage significantly by 2022.

In 2008, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) and its members made a commitment to halve CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels through "innovative technologies, sustainable aviation fuel, and improved operations and infrastructure."

Meanwhile, rival carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced in late October that it will start buying sustainable aviation fuel from Finnish oil refining company Neste Oyj. ANA will also reportedly start using biofuels made from recycled food waste in 2023.

Photo by Toshi Aoki