A public-private exploratory committee comprising the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and leading airline companies announced a plan to introduce algae-based biofuels at Haneda airport during its meeting on August 8. The plan calls for these fuels to be put to practical use by the late 2020s. Biofuels are expected to come into wider use due to their lower environmental load, but hurdles such as costs and commercial production must be addressed in the future.
The plan calls for developing with the private sector alga varieties that are high in thermal efficiency and establishing a system in which biofuels can be delivered to Haneda and their quality can be confirmed within the airport. The committee aims to conduct a test flight using these fuels when the Tokyo Olympics are held in 2020.
Biofuels cost around 3,000 yen per liter, which is about 30 times more than conventional gasoline-based fuels. The committee expects the test flight to stimulate demand and mass production to push down costs. (Abridged)