(JAPAN)

A pioneering Japanese company is building a biorefinery which will produce jet fuel made from a type of algae.

The microalgae is called euglena, which is also the name of the company. Thinner than a human hair, the tiny organism is already being used to make cosmetics and drinks but it could soon be popular with the aviation industry as oil extracted from euglena can be refined into kerosene.

Euglena is partnering with airline ANA to deliver on its ultimate goal of delivering 33,000 gallons of the alternative jet fuel annually.

It will help the aviation industry in its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. And developing the biofuel won’t take farmland away from food crop production – like those made from corn and sugarcane do – due to the process used to cultivate it.

Construction work on the country’s first algae biorefinery facility will begin at a site in Kanagawa prefecture this summer, with the refinery expected to be fully operational by the first half of 2019.