The U.S. Grains Council reports a new milestone in the effort to develop new export markets for U.S. ethanol with the first shipment of ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made with U.S. corn-based ethanol arriving in Japan.
The sale of ETBE, a gasoline component, was made following a policy change by the Japanese government recognizing the positive greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits. The shift allows for U.S. corn-based ethanol to be eligible for production of ETBE brought into Japan, in addition to sugarcane-based ethanol.
Japan will now allow U.S. ethanol to meet up to 44 percent of a total estimated demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used to make ETBE, or potentially 95.5 million gallons of U.S.-produced ethanol annually. Japan imports nearly all ETBE from ethanol it uses.
The first ETBE shipment from the United States, purchased by Japan Biofuels Supply LLP, unloaded at Chiba port near Tokyo and then Wakayama port near Osaka. The shipment of 13.5 million gallons represents 2 million bushels of corn demand.
The USGC has been working with ethanol organizations and corn growers to demonstrate the benefits of U.S. ethanol to Japanese officials and members of the Japanese fuel industry, providing detailed scientific information about U.S. ethanol’s production processes and the improvements in carbon intensity. Japan approved use of U.S. ethanol as an oxygenate in April 2018.