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Press Release

Launching of Verification Project for Production and Use of Sugarcane Derived Biomass Ethanol

August 4, 2005

Ministry of the Environment (MOE), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) and Cabinet Office collaborate mutually to launch a verification project for production and use of sugarcane derived biomass ethanol in Ie-mura* (Ie Village), Okinawa Prefecture.

* A village located in Ie-jima (Ie Island), a small neighboring island of Okinawa, Islands of Ryukyu, located in the southern part of Japanese Archipelago

Under the Kyoto Protocol, biomass ethanol is identified as a carbon-neutral fuel which does not increase carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. It is anticipated to mitigate CO2 emissions from vehicles by mixing with gasoline. In the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan adopted by the Cabinet in April this year, use of biomass derived fuel (including biomass ethanol mixed gasoline-E3) for transportation purpose is expected to be around 500,000kl (petroleum equivalent) by FY 2010.

With this as a background, MOE, MAFF, METI, and the Cabinet Office jointly implement a verification project for manufacture and use of sugarcane derived biomass ethanol in Ie-mura in Okinawa Prefecture. This project includes a series of verification tests; cultivation of high biomass sugarcane (monster cane) which will be raw material for biomass ethanol; production of molasses; production of biomass ethanol by fermentation and refining; production of biomass ethanol mixed gasoline (E3); and use of E3 as motor vehicle fuel. Practically speaking, 37kl of biomass ethanol mixed gasoline (E3) will be manufactured from 30 tons of high biomass concentrated sugarcane per year and E3 be used by all of 63 official vehicles of Ie-mura.

Construction of facilities required for verification tests starts from August 11. The harvest of the high biomass sugarcane will start from January next year followed by production of biomass ethanol, production of biomass ethanol mixed gasoline (E3) and running test of E3 used in the official vehicles in Ie-mura.

The government shall vigorously continue to promote measures to introduce and accelerate use of biomass derived fuel as transportation fuel in the local areas.


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