Coconut industry stakeholders expressed support to the Department of Energy’s plan to increase the coco-biodiesel blend in automotive diesel to 5 percent from 2 percent.
The Philippine Biodiesel Association in a statement over the weekend assured the industry of stable supply of coconuts, adding the plan would lead to greater livelihood security for farmers.
TPBA spokesperson Jun Lao said there would be more than enough coconut supply to support the shift to B5.
“There is overcapacity among coco methyl ester producers in serving the current B2 blend, the capacities were built in anticipation of the shift to B5 as guided by the Energy Department’s Philippine Energy plan,” Lao said.
“The combined capacity at present is around 850 million liters, more than enough to treat 17 billion liters of automotive diesel per year,” he said.
CME is a biofuel made from coconut oil that is converted into a diesel-substitute while exhibiting combustion-improving properties to lower harmful emissions and improve mileage.
Meanwhile, biofuels consultant Rafael Diaz said B5 was tested and proven by transportation experts to register an extra mileage boost of around 6 up to 12 percent per liter.
Diaz said the inherent lubricating and combustion-improving properties of CME provides stronger engine performance and cleaner emissions.
“Less engine breakdown is savings; combined with improved mileage translates to more than 4 pesos per kilometer is huge savings,” said Diaz, who based the computation on the mileage tests done by the University of the Philippine National Center for Transportation Studies.
Shortly 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 then increased to 2 percent in 2007.
The Philippines was the first in Southeast Asia to pioneer the blending of biodiesel. When neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia followed, they started with the B5 blend. Both countries are now at the B30 level, while the Philippines has remained at B2 since 2007.
“The increase in the domestic demand for coconut oil through the full implementation of B5 will definitely improve the copra farm gate price, and will eventually redound to the benefits of our farmers,” PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal said.
An estimated 695 million liters of CME would be needed for the increase to B5 blend and PCA said there is ample supply of feedstock to support B5.
The Department of Energy included in its Biofuels Roadmap 2018-2040 the increase of the biodiesel blend to 5 percent in 2020, but it was not met because of the pandemic impact on logistics and transportation difficulties.
Lao said that aside from providing coconut farmers a steady market and stable copra prices, the industry has always supported the local coconut farmers’ welfare.
“There is a 5 centavos per liter lien contributed by every CME producer to the DOLE’s Social Amelioration and Welfare Program. This funds the livelihood and training programs for coconut farmers and biodiesel workers,” Lao said.
The Chamber of Automobile Manufactures of the Philippines Inc. said in a statement that “every car and engine manufacturer around the world have agreed to B5. This blended diesel specification is compatible with all diesel vehicles.”