USGC promotes ethanol during Japanese energy forum

By U.S. Grains Council | January 22, 2021

Ethanol joined wind, solar, ocean wave and biomass energy as topics of discussion during the Renewable Energy Exhibition in Japan in early December 2020. The U.S. Grains Council took part to provide an overview of ethanol’s use around the world and present findings from a new result detailing the potential for ethanol in Japan, part of the organizations’ work to promote higher and direct ethanol blending ratios in the Japanese market by demonstrating the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol as a fuel component.

“Our participation in the Renewable Bioenergy Exhibition is the continuation of our long-term promotion of ethanol in Japan,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. “We were able to provide energy stakeholders with good information on ethanol use and how increased use would benefit Japan in meeting its environmental goals.”

Prior to the conference, the Council worked with the Institute of Applied Energy to develop an introductory report on ethanol and its environmental benefits. IAE is a public research institute focused on energy topics, including petroleum, electric power, nuclear energy and renewable energy.

IAE compiled the report discussing the state of the ethanol market in Japan, how ethanol could help meet Japan’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and misconceptions related to the use of corn.

The Council used the report, currently only available in Japanese, to join the bioenergy forum and provide an overview of how ethanol is produced and used around the world. USGC speakers demonstrated how ethanol has potential to contribute to greenhouse gas emission reduction in the Japanese transportation sector. The Council plans to publish the report as a scientific reference on the benefits of ethanol and will use the publication when speaking with relevant government officials and industry.

“We are providing information and resources to Japanese energy stakeholders as they consider shifts in fuel policies,” Hamamoto said. “Doing so expands the Council’s role as a trusted advisor and moves efforts forward to promote direct ethanol blending.”

While Japan does not currently directly blend ethanol, the Council has supported the Japanese government’s efforts to indirectly include U.S. ethanol as a source of fuel in the Japanese transportation sector. The Japanese government changed this policy to allow up to 66 percent market share for U.S. ethanol to be blended into fuel in the form of ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), equal to 143 million gallons in potential demand for U.S. ethanol, equivalent to 50.7 million bushels of corn.

Learn more about the Council’s work to promote ethanol in Japan.