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Japanese Market to Open Doors for More US Ethanol Imports With New Rule

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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U.S. ethanol producers will now have full access to the Japanese ethanol market. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry released a proposed rule that would improve U.S. ethanol's carbon-intensity score and pave the way for American producers to fully access the country's 217-million-gallon ethanol market, according to a news release on Friday from ethanol and agriculture groups.

Japanese regulators revised the U.S. corn-ethanol carbon-intensity score that allows U.S. ethanol to fully access the entire bioethanol market – an increase from just 66% access in 2021. The rule changed was based on continued improvement in reduction of carbon emissions by the U.S. ethanol industry.

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

The change was made in Japan's final proposed rule for partial amendment of the Act on Sophisticated Methods of Energy Supply Structures on March 30, 2023. That rule remains in place through 2028.

The U.S. ethanol industry has continued to improve carbon-intensity scores with production and other improvements.

In a joint statement, Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council and the Renewable Fuels Association said they will continue to "engage" Japanese regulators in other fuel sectors to expand renewable fuels use.

"The U.S. 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," the groups said in a statement.

"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 U.S. 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."

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