BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Officials from the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries toured One Earth Energy ethanol plant in Gibson City, Illinois, U.S. on May 21, in hopes of learning more about the production of ethanol and dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS).
Participant, Gen Furuhashi, a researcher of the Policy Research Institute of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), said “This visit was extremely beneficial to see the DDGS with a portion of the oil extracted as the Japanese government is going through an approval process for low oil DDGS. It was valuable to see and hold the product rather than to just read about it.”
While visiting One Earth Energy, Furuhashi and his group specifically sought answers to the estimated schedule of producing ethanol, preparation for introducing E15, the impact of ethanol tax expiration, DDGS production and market situation, and the competition between ethanol plants and the impact of ethanol and DDGS exports on ethanol plants.
Satoshi Yamada, manager of the largest trading company in Japan, Sojitz Corporation of America, was also with the governmental delegation. He was investigating possible supplies of ethanol from Illinois for exports to Brazil and China. He was inquiring about the possibilities of purchasing ethanol from One Earth Energy.
Phil Thornton, value enhanced project director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board said, “This tour was a worthwhile and vital interaction with the government of Japan as they are our number one market for corn. Their purchases of DDGS have doubled over the last year and it was important for them to learn and understand the production of DDGS and the marketing of ethanol. Japan uses a blend of up to 3% ethanol in their gasoline and imports to the country may grow. Having Yamada accompany the group was helpful in our export marketing program of ethanol. Last year the U.S. exported a total of 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol to Brazil, the E.U., Canada and Asia. A third of those gallons came from the state of Illinois. Developing relationships with governmental officials such as Furuhashi and Yamada are valuable to the efforts of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.”
One Earth Energy began operations in 2009 and has 293 shareholders, producing 100 million gallons of ethanol per year.
President of One Earth Energy, Steve Kelly, explained to the group the general principles of ethanol and DDGS production.
"We are diversifying our product line by extracting the oil from the DDGS and selling the oil to biodiesel companies as well as industrial oils and lubricants market,” Kelly said.