Could 100 Tons of Cotton Equal a 45 Minute Flight On a 747?


It’s hard to wrap your brain around how much textile waste we have in the world but a recent article by Ecouterre puts it into a whole new perspective: Japan Airlines wants to turn used cotton clothing into jet fuel. The site says Japan Environmental Planning (aka “Jeplan”) who already works with 12 retailers to acquire used garments across Japan will be the new fuel collector.

Ecouterre writes: “Jeplan will be building an experimental fuel plant at one of its factory locations. The company says it plans to begin test flights using a blend of conventional and cotton-derived fuel in 2020, before establishing a commercial plant by 2030. Cotton-derived fuel isn’t a cure-all for peak oil, of course: 100 tons of cotton yields only 10 kiloliters of fuel, or roughly 2,641 gallons of the slick stuff. (A plane like a Boeing 747 uses about 1 gallon of fuel every second.) BF+DA executive director Deb Johnson did the math. “If a t-shirt weighs 9 ounces then it’d take close to 500,000 shirts to fly a 747 for an hour. Seems like there are better ways to up-cycle but using fermentation to create alcohol is exciting, I’m assuming that it can be designed as a closed loop system.”

‘Even if all the cotton consumed in Japan were used in fuel production, this would give only 70,000kl or so annually—less than 1 percent of Japan’s jet fuel usage,’ the Nikkei Asian Review notes…”

Read the full article on Ecouterre.

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