Local business Sichuan Jinshang Environmental Protection said it uses excess hot pot oil from restaurants in Chengdu city (Sichuan province, China) to make about 150,000 tons of fuel for the aviation industry a year.
Every night, hot pot collectors employed by Jinshang will go to hundreds of restaurants in urban southwest China to work. They would first collect containers of bright red grease filtered by restaurant staff, then take them to the factory on the outskirts of town.
Here, the oil water will follow the pipeline into larger tanks and undergo a purification process to remove remaining water and impurities. The finished product is a transparent, yellow industrial oil.
This special chemical will be exported to Europe, America and Singapore. This will be further processed to make “sustainable aviation fuel” (SAF).
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), SAF plays a very important role in decarbonizing the aviation sector – which generates 2% of CO emissions.2 Globally by 2022.
Due to high processing costs and small number of suppliers, this type of fuel is still not widely used, accounting for less than 0.1% of total aviation fuel consumed.
According to AFP news agency, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the use of SAF fuel could contribute about 65% to reducing aviation industry emissions.
“Since our establishment in 2017, our total output has increased year by year,” company director general Ye Bin told AFP.
Jinshang Company is planning to expand its SAF fuel production facility. They will use equipment provided by US company Honeywell to increase production to 300,000 tonnes per year.
Jinshang’s business model is one of many efforts to tackle the mountain of food waste generated by China’s 1.4 billion people. According to 2021 research by environmental protection products company Nature, people in the country with a population of billions waste about 350 million tons of agricultural products every year.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfills for garbage and rotting food release methane gas, which warms the atmosphere faster than most other materials.