NEW ETHANOL PLANT TO BE OPERATIONAL IN 2010 IN PHILIPPINES

10 Sep 2009 • by Natalie Aster

Ethanol production in the Philippines is expected to increase next year with the commissioning of new plants in Roxas province.

Tetchi Capellan, director of the Ethanol Producers' Association of the Philippines, (EPAP) said that Roxol Bioenergy of Roxas Holdings Inc., (PSE:ROX) will begin commercial operations in 2010.

Roxol Bioenergy of Roxas Holdings Inc. was scheduled to produce three million liters monthly from its plant in La Carlota City in February 2010, Capellan said.

According to Capellan, Roxas Holdings Inc. is the second-biggest refiner of raw sugar in the country, taking 20 per cent of national production.

The initial output from Roxol Bioenergy of about 27 million liters will contribute to the 2010 ethanol inventory and likewise bring the total local production to 66 million liters, with San Carlos Bioenergy producing 30 million liters, while Leyte Agricultural Corporation contributing nine million liters.

Ethanol in the Philippines is derived from sugarcane cultivation and production.

She added that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that about 70 liters of ethanol can be produced from a ton of sugarcane.

In terms of hectares, about 4550 liters are produced for every hectare planted to sugarcane.

Capellan said there were about 433,700 hectares of land planted with sugarcane in the country, adding that a more favorable investment climate for ethanol producers could drive and enable sugar millers to harness their combined capacity to produce 1.7 billion liters of ethanol.

The Biofuels Law mandates that all gasoline sold in the country be blended with 5 per cent ethanol.

This year, the mandate translates into 220 million liters of ethanol.

Also, Capellan said EPAP was pushing for an immediate review and shift of the current policy on ethanol trade.

Capellan said that in light of local ethanol production, as well as the global trend to achieve energy security and mitigate climate change, the bioethanol industry in the Philippines needed stronger government support to replicate the San Carlos plant in several sites throughout the country.

Moreover, Capellan noted that more ethanol plants would rise in the next few years, when companies are interested in investing in a stable market.

Today, the presence of E10 in gas stations has already made consumers more aware of the benefits of ethanol to air quality, public health, and the environment.

But a stronger push from government will predictably increase the number of off-take agreements and consequently enable ethanol production in the rural areas to scale up and expand to a level that matches market demand, she added.

Ethanol producers are confident that the availability of feedstock from the sugar industry, as well as the existing distilleries operating in the country, will allow prospective ethanol producers to supply all local requirements.

At present, oil companies such as Petron Corp., Shell Philippines, Chevron Philippines, Flying V, Eastern Petroleum, Seaoil Philippines, Phoenix Petroleum and PTT Philippines are offering E10 in their stations as mandated by the law.

Source: Asia Pulse


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