Chinese Startup Turns Leftover Hot Pot Oil into Jet Fuel

Hot pot generates 12,000 tons of waste oil a month in the city of Chengdu alone.

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If you’ve never had hot pot, you’re absolutely missing out. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a fantastic meal to share with friends or family. But it also generates a lot of oil waste. In fact, hot pot is reportedly responsible for 12,000 tons of waste oil per month just in the Chinese city of Chengdu alone. Instead of just getting rid of that oil, one startup decided to turn it into jet fuel.

Bloomberg recently published a great article about Sichuan Jinshang Environmental Technology, the startup that began exporting hot pot waste oil to be turned into biofuel that can power planes. It’s not exactly a perfect solution to the greenhouse gas emissions that the aviation industry is responsible for, but it’s a step in the right direction. “Our mission is to make gutter oil fly to the sky,” Zhong Guojun, the company’s vice president, told Bloomberg.


Based in Chengdu, Sichuan Jinshang Environmental Technology takes waste oil from around the city and refines it into something called industrial mixed oil. The refined oil is then exported to be turned into jet fuel or biodiesel by companies such as BP or Neste Oyj, the biggest producer of sustainable jet fuel in the world. And with new requirements for airlines to use more biofuel in their planes, there’s a lot of demand despite the fact that it’s still more expensive than regular jet fuel.

“When there is a demand, the supply will catch up, and the demand is already here,” said Chong Cheng Tung, Associate Professor at the China-UK Low Carbon College, Shanghai Jiao Tong University told Bloomberg. “So either you switch your fuel to green fuel, like bio jet fuel, or you have to pay a lot of premium for traveling.”


Last year, Neste announced plans to spend more than $2 billion expanding its capacity to manufacture sustainable jet fuel. By 2026, it hopes to be able to produce 1.2 million tons of the stuff. Other companies such as Chevron, BP, and TotalEnergies are producing it on a smaller scale but also plan to increase their output soon.

The whole article is a fascinating read, so you should definitely check it out here.