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U.S. ethanol to benefit from Japanese rule

U.S. ethanol to benefit from Japanese rule

Japanese regulators revised the U.S. corn ethanol carbon intensity score

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. corn and ethanol industries are set to benefit from a revised Japanese rule.

On March 30, Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry announced it is exploring improving the carbon intensity score of corn ethanol produced in the U.S.

Carbon intensity is defined as the measure of greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and consuming a transportation fuel. It is measured in grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of energy (gCO2e/MJ).

The improvement would see the carbon-intensity score of U.S. corn ethanol go from 43.15 gCO2e/MJ to 37.1 gCO2e/MJ.

Prior to 2018, Japan only used Brazilian ethanol made from sugarcane because the government saw it as a better alternative than U.S. corn ethanol.

“This decision was based on an outdated calculation of greenhouse gas emission reduction, which effectively excluded U.S. ethanol,” the U.S. Grains Council said in a May 3 statement.

In 2018, the U.S. Grains Council helped American ethanol have access to 44 per cent of the Japanese market, which equaled about 96 million gallons of U.S. ethanol.

Two years later, that number increased to 66 per cent of Japan’s market.

If this March 30 proposal passes, it would be in place until 2028. And U.S. ethanol will have full access to the Japanese market.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative estimates this could increase exports of U.S. ethanol to Japan by more than 80 million gallons and worth up to $200 million.

“We applaud Japan for publishing its new biofuels policy, which will help promote a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. This new policy is also a big win for American farmers and our rural economy, as it will expand U.S. biofuel producers’ access to the Japanese market,” Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said in a statement.

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