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Kirin Brewery To Build Ethanol Plant

Less Filling - More Octane

TOKYO, July 30, 2007; Reuters reported that Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd. Japan's No. 2 brewer, plans to begin experimental production of ethanol using the residue of malt used to make beer as feedstock, a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

An estimated 300 million yen ($2.5 million) will be invested to construct a pilot plant which will have the capacity to produce 15 kilolitres of ethanol a year, she said.

Construction will begin in the autumn with output due to start later this year.

"Although commercial production is something we have in mind, nothing has been decided yet," she said.

Kirin, together with Mitsubishi Corp., Japan's top trading firm, is a member of a consortium taking part in a government-backed project to build a 15,000-kl ethanol plant in the northern island of Hokkaido.

Ethanol and other "green" fuels produced from renewable resources such as sugar, corn and soybeans are seen as a way to reduce greenhouse gases.

However, they have also been instrumental in pushing up commodities prices. Corn has risen to 10-year highs.