THE Department of Energy (DoE) said on Wednesday that Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) will not delay plans to increase biodiesel blend to 5% (B5) biofuel content, but added that it is considering an intermediate increase to 3% (B3) first.
“We see no delay on the implementation of the B5 plan due to Typhoon Odette, although Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos is calling for a meeting with the National Biofuels Board (NBB) to discuss increasing the current biodiesel mix of B2 to B3 first before we proceed to B5,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said at a media conference.
The NBB is a cabinet-level body tasked with ensuring that biofuel policy is consistent with economic growth targets.
The Biofuels Act of 2006 (RA 9367) requires the use of biofuels and an increase in their share of the energy mix to help reduce dependency on imported fuel.
The DoE’s Biofuels Roadmap of 2018 to 2040 had hoped to increase the biodiesel mix to 5% in 2020, but such a move was hindered by the pandemic due to doubts about the reliability of the biodiesel supply during the lockdown.
The Philippine Biodiesel Association (TPBA) said in a statement on Wednesday a shift to B3 and eventually B5 is expected to take place without adverse market reactions.
TPBA said the supply of coco-biodiesel is sufficient to meet any surge in demand, adding that the association’s combined capacity is 877 million liters, which exceeds the demand to be created by any shift to B5 of 650 million liters per year.
The biodiesel mix currently uses crude coconut oil, which a study conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) found could reduce the carbon dioxide footprint of fuel users by as much as 78% compared to diesel fuel.
The UP College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology in Los Baños came to this conclusion after testing a sample provided by Chemrez Technologies. The finding is valid over a full lifecycle of use compared to diesel fuel.
House Committee on Energy Chairman Juan Miguel M. Arroyo has said that raising the blend to B5 to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is both a responsibility and a patriotic duty that will benefit the economy and coconut farmers. — Marielle C. Lucenio