The Philippine coconut industry urged the government over the weekend to increase the coco-biodiesel blend to 5 percent of diesel to help farmers amid hard times due to the pandemic.
Industry stakeholders said increasing the blend would also help reduce air pollutants.
The coconut industry said both the Philippine Coconut Industry and the Department of Energy already assured more than enough feedstock supply to cover the increase in the coco-biodiesel blend.
The Philippine Biodiesel Association, the country’s leading group of biodiesel stakeholders and advocates, said coconut farmers would benefit from the increased biodiesel blend to 5 percent from 2 percent at present.
“There is a 5-centavo-per-liter lien contributed by every CME producer to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Social Amelioration and Welfare Program. This funds the livelihood and training programs for coconut farmers and biodiesel workers,” TPBA said.
Under the Philippine Energy Plan, biodiesel should contain at least 5-percent coco methyl ester blend by 2020. By increasing the blend, the required annual CME volume is 632 million liters, representing 5 percent of diesel demand of 12.64 billion liters for full year 2021.
According to recent PCA data, the needed feedstock to supply the projected B5 demand is 4.3 billion nuts out of the production of 17 billion nuts for 2021.
By 2025, the projected feed stock supply is pegged at 20 billion nuts.
The PCA said that without strong domestic demand, the only choice is to export crude coconut oil at lower prices.
The anticipated strong domestic demand created by the B5 program will stabilize the price and demand for copra, encouraging farmers to plant more.
After Republic Act 9367 or the “Biofuels act of 2006” was signed into law, the blending of 1-percent in local diesel started. It was last increased to 2 percent in 2007.
The main objective of the Biofuels Act is to achieve a sustainable future by reducing importation of refined fuel such as diesel and gasoline and increase the income of farmers.
Biodiesel advocate Rafael Diaz said “the gains on B5 had been cited many times in terms of cleaner air, increased mileage and savings for motorists, attaining public health through clean air and alleviating poverty among coconut farmers”.
Diaz said, “high levels of air pollutants, total suspended particulates, cause spike in respiratory ailments which weaken the lungs and making it more prone to COVID transmission.”
“It is by simply blending 5 percent CME in diesel fuel which guarantees clean engine combustion. It eliminates emission of air pollutants, ensuring public health wellness from respiratory ailments,” Diaz said.
TPBA also said shifting to B5 would translate into foreign exchange savings on fuel import amounting to nearly P13.6 billion a year.
Diaz said motorists would also gain, both in mileage and savings as reflected by the on-road tests conducted by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies, in collaboration DOE and PCA, which showed that there is a 6 to 10 percent increase in mileage gain using the coco biodiesel B5 blend.
“We have an industry fully supportive of this renewable energy initiative. Our capacities are ready to support a 5-percent biodiesel blend and beyond,” TBPA said.
“Our planet needs it; our farmers need it; our manufacturers are ready; our lawmakers can make it happen today,” the group said.