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US ethanol bodies welcome Japan’s new rule on ethanol

US ethanol bodies welcome Japan’s new rule on ethanol
For the first time, US ethanol will be able to successfully access 100 percent of the Japanese biofuel market (photo courtesy ORNL).

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) released on March 30, 2023, its final proposed rule for partial amendment of the Act on Sophisticated Methods of Energy Supply Structures —in place through 2028—that allows the country to further contribute to its climate targets through consumption of lower-carbon ethanol and, for the first time, will allow US ethanol to successfully access 100 percent of the Japanese biofuel market.

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The Act, which is reviewed every five years, featured timely and scientific updates regarding the life cycle assessment of US corn-based ethanol.

Japanese regulators revised the US corn ethanol carbon intensity score that allows US ethanol to fully access the entire bioethanol market—up from 66 percent access in 2021 based on continued improvement in the reduction of carbon emission by the US ethanol industry.

The target volume for Japanese bioethanol consumption remains at 217 million gallons per year at an ethanol blend level of 1.9 percent utilized in the form of ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE).

In a joint statement, US ethanol bodies have welcomed the move by Japanese regulators.

The US ethanol community applauds the Japanese government for joining other countries in recognizing the role ethanol can play in the global effort to address climate change at the same time it takes steps to decarbonize its transportation sector. Countries around the world are recognizing that biofuels like ethanol are a simple, inexpensive, and effective solution they can deploy today to help them lower their carbon emissions and meet their climate goals. We will continue to work closely with Japan and other nations to find more ways for us to collaboratively decrease carbon emissions. The US ethanol industry will engage with Japan on additional ethanol consumption efforts both within the on-road and sustainable aviation sectors as the country implements its new regulation, said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy; Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association (RFA); and Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of U.S. Grains Council.

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