14 February 2002

According to Japanese press reports, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced a plan to legislate “sulfur free” gasoline and diesel fuels. In harmonization with the recent European proposal, the maximum sulfur content in both fuels would be set at 10 ppm (wt.). Sulfur free fuels would be introduced “around fiscal year 2008”.

An advisory panel will develop a detailed draft regulation by the end of fiscal 2002.

Sulfur free fuels will be introduced to facilitate tighter control of NOx emissions from cars. Fuels of ultra low sulfur levels are expected to enable NOx adsorber-catalyst systems on direct injection gasoline (GDI) and, possibly, diesel engines. Low sulfur fuels would also improve the performance and durability of existing NOx control technologies, such as tree-way catalysts on rich burn gasoline engines.

Current sulfur limits in Japan are 500 ppm in diesel and 100 ppm in gasoline. A limit of 50 ppm is legislated for both fuels effective 2005.

METI officials also said regulations are under consideration to tighten hydrocarbons and particulate matter emission standards for cars by 2008-2010.

Source: Kyodo News