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Petrobras and Mitsui Finalize Plan on Ethanol Exports to Japan for Power and Transport from 2010

Nikkei. Petrobras and Mitsui & Co. have finalized a plan to export ethanol to Japan beginning in 2010 for use in power plants and as a transportation fuel. Petrobras will lay pipelines in Brazil and secure tankers for transport to Japan. Mitsui will secure sugarcane fields and build a facility to produce the ethanol.

In April 2006, Petrobras—Brazil’s state-controlled oil company—and Mitsui—Japan’s second-largest trading company—signed an agreement to promote and to sell Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol in world markets. (Earlier post.)

Annual shipments to Japan are expected to total 3 billion liters (793 million gallons US). That amount includes include exports for use in automobiles.

Japanese power utilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Co., are reportedly interested in using ethanol to power their stations, as using the substance in combination with fuel oil would require only minimal equipment changes.

Japan currently meets roughly two-thirds of its electricity needs via thermal power stations fired by such fossil fuels as coal, oil and natural gas.

Brazil, the world’s largest ethanol exporter—plans to double its annual ethanol output to 30 billion liters (7.9 billion gallons US) by 2014. Petrobras has already decided to start exporting the substance to Japan for use in autos in 2008. In December 2005, the company formed a 50-50 joint venture company with Nippon Alcohol Hanbai (NAH) of Japan to produce fuel ethanol for the Japanese market. (Earlier post.)



With a sugarcane energy balance as high as 8 to 1, Brazil should be able to export some. If they go cellulose to gasify the bagasse, they can get even higher yields.


Interesting. Could this be the reason US Japaneses cars are rarely flexfuel capable? Perhaps they do not want to compeate with us over this resource.


Nissan will have Flexfuels for the US market.


This is interesting because of the huge distance from Brazil to Japan. Shipping will eat up some of that energy.

It looks like Japan would get a much better deal importing ethanol from the SE Asia area. That area is ramping up production of ethanol and biodiesel rather quickly.

Mitsui probably has other intentions concerning Brazil and wants the ethanol agreement promotes them. I notice they are to acquire land to grow the sugar cane and that may be their real purpose.

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