Corn serves as an important source of biofuel but with a growing rise in food prices, Japan is facing the dilemma of whether to use crops as a source of biofuel. (Image source: Dodo-Bird/Flickr)The government of Japan has plans to introduce 500,000 kilo litres of oil-based biofuels by 2017 reaching up to 1.8mn kilo litres by 2020 in an attemp to supplement the country's energy source
Two different types of biofuels, E3 and bio-ETBE blended gasoline, are competing in the market in Japan, but Bio-ETBE blended gasoline is more prevalent.
Last year, the government had permitted sales of E10 gasoline and vehicles designed to use E10 or ETBE22. Hence, demands for bio-ethanol and ETBE are expected to increase.
Due to the increase in food prices during the past few years, there is a broad debate within Japan about the use of food crops to produce biofuels. This is a major reason that Japan is focusing research efforts on cellulosic ethanol technology that does not compete with food.
In the wake of the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima in 2011, Japan is reviewing its energy policies. Several expert panels and task forces were established to discuss the direction of Japan’s energy policies from different angles. Biofuels and several other renewable energy sources have recently emerged to be of prime importance in the country.