According to The Nikkei Asian Review, Japan's biotechnology company euglena is to start mass production of bio jet fuel and biodiesel out of algae and waste oil, with the aim of being the first company to fuel green commercial flights out of Japan.
The company announced the completion of its refinery plant in Yokohama on Friday. The site can produce 125 kiloliters of bio jet fuel and biodiesel per year, and it plans to raise the production capacity to 250,000 kiloliters by 2025.
The cost of biofuels, which has been one of the major obstacles to their commercialization, is expected to drop from the current 10,000 yen (US$ 88.6) per liter to 100 yen by 2025. This will be close to the current price of petroleum-based jet fuel at about 70 yen.
The company has partnered with aviation group ANA Holdings in the venture, with the aim of fueling their commercial international flights departing from Japan by 2020. Euglena is also planning to offer bio jet fuel to other companies taking off from Japan. ANA will support euglena to develop the airport infrastructure to supply aircraft.
Mitsuru Izumo, euglena's chief executive, said he expected the demand to expand along with the growing Asian aviation industry. "We want [low-cost carriers] and oversea flights to try using our biofuel," particularly from Southeast Asia where bio jet fuel is still rare, he said.
In Japan, no airline has yet carried out a green commercial flight, while there have been nearly 150,000 flights worldwide, according to euglena. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has so far conducted programs in places including Australia and Brazil, and partnered with China's Tsinghua University to develop bio jet fuel in China. Airlines including Cathay Pacific Airways and Qatar Airways have supported efforts to commercialize bio jet fuel production.
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