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Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Japan.







  • Goals reported as being adopted by the Japanese government for bioenergy utilization include:
    • All biofuels: Production of "biomass-based transport fuels equivalent to 500,000 kiloliters of oil by 2010;" it is anticipated that some 90% of this total would be imported.[1]
    • Biodiesel: "increasing domestic production of biodiesel fuel to 10,000 - 15,000 kiloliters per year by fiscal 2010."[2]



  • Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan, 6 July 2011 by Nophea Sasaki et al in the journal Energies.
    • Abstract: "Damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan should stimulate consideration of alternative sources of energy. In particular, if managed appropriately, the 25.1 million ha of Japanese forests could be an important source of wood biomass for bioenergy production. Here, we discuss policy incentives for substituting wood bioenergy for nuclear power, thereby creating a safer society while better managing the forest resources in Japan."[3]
  • Mitsubishi develops ethanol fuel production technology, 21 April 2011 by Biofuels International: "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has developed technology for ethanol fuel production which complies with the standards set by the Japanese Automotive Standards Organisation (JASO), from lignocellulose (soft cellulose) such as rice straw and barley straw."
    • "Since 2008 the demonstration project has been getting developed for the production of cellulosic bioethanol in which MHI formed a joint venture with Hakutsuru Sake Brewing and Kansai Chemical Engineering, two companies which were responsible for verification of the bioethanol production processes."
    • "In the beginning, each of the three participating companies took charge of specific areas based on their expertise and conducted verification testing at their own research facility. In December 2009, the whole process to produce ethanol from lignocellulose was verified at a demonstration plant built specifically for the project at MHI's Futami Plant in Hyogo."[4]
  • Trillions for biomass projects fruitless, 15 February 2011 by The Japan Times: "None of the government's 214 biomass promotion projects — with public funding coming to ¥6.55 trillion — over the past six years has produced effective results in the struggle against global warming, according to an official report released Tuesday."
    • "The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, which evaluates public works projects, urged the agriculture and five other ministries conducting biomass projects using sewage sludge, garbage and wood, to take corrective action."
    • "While the six ministries have argued that 161, or 75 percent, of the 214 projects have produced some results, the bureau concluded that none has produced results that would lead to the formation of a recycling-based society, the report says."[5]


  • Commercial Airlines May Get 1% of Fuel From Biofuels By 2015, Boeing Says, 22 July by Alex Morales: "Boeing has worked with airlines from the U.S. to Japan to test jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha and camelina."
    • "Boeing’s forecast of 1 percent of fuels coming from biofuels by the middle of the decade is for the global air industry, and the company is working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, an alliance of 19 airlines that aim to be first-movers, Glover said. UOP’s Rekoske said 1 percent is more likely to be reached at regional levels, with Europe and the U.S. Northwest as potential candidates."
    • "'They’re actually not made in major quantities at this point,' [James Rekoske, vice president and general manager of renewable energy and chemicals at Honeywell International Inc.] said in an interview this week at the Farnborough Air Show south of London. 'We have the largest facility in the world and we’ve produced biofuels at about 200,000 gallons this year, which is really a very small quantity compared to what the airlines would need.'"[7]


  • (Aviation) Commercial use of biofuels may take time, 25 April 2009 by TradingMarkets.com: "Despite broad optimism in the aviation industry about the commercial use of biofuels, experts in Asia believe this won't happen very soon."
    • "On April 1, at the conclusion of an industry summit in Geneva, about 400 aviation and environment leaders set an industry timeline for aviation biofuels....By the end of the year, a set of environmental sustainability standards for aviation biofuels should be in place, they said in a summit declaration."
    • "In a separate interview, biofuels specialist Florello Galindo, director of Manila-based Asian Institute of Petroleum Studies Inc. (AIPSI), said China and Japan, being the region's main players in aviation manufacturing, would likely determine the fate of aviation biofuel use in Asia."[9]


  • Japan Plans to Support Replacing Petrol With Wood, 29 January 2008 by PlanetArk: "Japan is set to embark on a five-year plan this year to harness a new form of energy using unused wood biomass to produce auto fuels and other industrial products currently made from imported petrol."
    • Japan's Ministry of Agriculture has proposed allocating 1.2 billion yen (US$11.2 million) in the coming year for private projects including for development of cellulosic ethanol technology, in addition to support for "consortiums comprising farmers, engineers and regional governments to produce ethanol from non-food soft plant parts such as rice stems and use it locally."


  • Boom in biofuel leading to higher costs for food, 11 May 2007 from the Asahi Shinbun. The increase in US corn going to ethanol production is driving up the prices of other products. In particular farmers are planting less soybeans, which has resulted in a 10% increase in the price of mayonnaise made by Japan's largest producer. It was their first price hike in 17 years. Beer and beef producers are also feeling the pressure.


  • Don't use biofuels to power farm industry 26 November, 2006 editorial from the Yomiuri Shinbun. The editorial critizes the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry aim to increase in about 15 years the annual domestic production of bioethanol to about 10 percent of the nation's current annual gasoline consumption, as unrealistic.


Governmental organizations

  • Cabinet Office
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
    • Forestry Agency
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
    • METI is funding research into cellulosic ethanol technologies.[11]
    • New Energy Development Organization (NEDO)
  • Ministry of Environment
    • The MOE has a committee for promoting usage of eco-fuels.
  • Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport



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