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U.S. Grains CouncilMarch 28, 20242 min read

U.S. Grains Council Holds Conference on Bioethanol Integration, Sustainable Aviation Fuel Benefits in Japan

The Japanese government has recently become more interested in using bioethanol for the production of a new, sustainable fuel for air travel.

In response, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a conference, U.S. Ethanol for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Beyond, on Nov. 30 to build on burgeoning biofuel consumption in the country.

USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand traveled to Tokyo for the event, which attracted more than 90 key Japanese government officials, academic researchers, nonprofits and other influential industry leaders.

“I feel it’s important for me to speak here and continue to show support for the growing demand for SAF in Japan,” LeGrand said. “We can all see the incredible decarbonization effects of blending bioethanol into gasoline for road vehicles, and reducing the emissions of air travel is the next step we can take in creating a healthier and more sustainable future for transit.”

Before the conference, LeGrand and USGC Japan Director Tommy Hamamoto took part in a series of meetings with officials and policymakers, including sessions with representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) specialists working at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

LeGrand delivered opening remarks for the conference to present the potential of U.S. corn bioethanol for SAF production, along with Raymond Greene, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo; Akira Amari, member of the Japanese House of Representatives; and Johan Ullman, managing director at Marquis Energy Global.

Presentations centered on how the various stages of bioethanol production contribute to its carbon reduction benefits and the versatility of bioethanol in fuel and chemical manufacturing.

Additional programming featured speeches on the decarbonization potential of SAF in Japan and the role of U.S.-Japan cooperation in bioethanol use, key factors that affect the carbon intensity of U.S. bioethanol, land use considerations for growing corn in the U.S. and the latest on agricultural sustainability certifications.

On Dec. 1, Hamamoto met with a group of stakeholders including representatives from METI, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the University of Tokyo and others to follow up and discuss the benefits SAF can bring to the Japanese transport industry, SAF production specifics and implementation factors.

“All of the event participants and industry leaders we met showed tremendous interest in SAF and the overall sustainability efforts of the U.S. bioethanol value chain,” Hamamoto said. “U.S. corn production is stronger than ever and is ready to support Japan and other countries in their transition to more environmentally friendly transit options.”

 Ryan LeGrand Trade Talk Photo

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently co-hosted a conference on U.S. ethanol for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Japan. Pictured, USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand delivered opening remarks at the event, presenting the potential for U.S. corn ethanol for SAF production.