Philippines’ second ethanol plant to start production in next month

Published by rudy Date posted on January 3, 2009

The country’s second ethanol plant is expected to start production by next month, just in time to meet the mandated demand of the alternative fuel at the pump.

Mario Marasigan, Department of Energy (DOE) director, said that San Carlos BioEnergy Inc.’s (SCBI) ethanol plant should come on line soon to help feed local demand.

“They will be able to meet the five percent mandate for ethanol starting February,” he said.

SCBI’s P2.5-billion facility is an integrated ethanol distillery and cogeneration power plant located in San Carlos Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, Negros Occidental.

Bronzeoak Philippines, a unit of Bronzeoak Ltd. of the UK, is the primary developer of SCBI together with Zabaleta & Co., a private family-owned corporation established in 1997 engaged in sugar farming and agribusiness.

The SCBI plant needs approximately 400,000 tons of sugar cane annually—all of which will come from the 9,000-hectare San Carlos sugar district—to meet its ethanol production target.

The plant is capable of producing 125,000 liters of ethanol per day or 30 million liters annually as well as eight-megawatts of electricity.

Besides the said facility, Bronzeoak and Zabaleta & Co. are also eyeing two more ethanol plans to be located in southern Bukidnon and Pampanga.

The ethanol plants will have a capacity of around 120,000 liters per day and its design will be similar to the ethanol facility in Negros Occidental.

Ethanol is a high-octane, water-free alcohol produced from sugar cane and other crops such as corn, cassava, sweet sorghum. It is used as a blending component in gasoline.

Unlike fossil fuels, ethanol is virtually inexhaustible since agricultural products can be grown and harvested continually under a sustainable system.

Under the Biofuels Act of 2006, gasoline is mandated to have a 5-percent blend of locally produced ethanol starting this year and double this volume after two years.

However, the lack of ethanol plants, which has been blamed on land titling issues and un-contiguous farmlands in the country, has forced most petroleum companies to import their ethanol requirements.

Besides the SCBI plant, the country’s only other ethanol production facility is run by Leyte Agri Corp. and has a 9 million-liter per year capacity.
–Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo, Manila Times

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