Philippines to raise bioethanol capacity to meet biofuel mandate

20 September 2012 05:47  [Source: ICIS news]

BANGKOK (ICIS)--The Philippines is expected to increase its bioethanol capacity to around 305m litres by 2015-2016 in a bid to meet its projected national requirement mandated by the country's biofuels act, a government official said on Thursday.

The increased bioethanol capacity will be a combination of product from both feedstock sugarcane and molasses, while sweet sorghum is a third raw material under consideration for future distillation, according to Jose Alisla from the country's Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

Alisla was speaking at the third CBI Global Ethanol Focus in Bangkok, which is a two-day event ending on 20 September.

Planned additional capacity from distilleries for the short term will add 97.5m litres to the existing total capacity at 133m litres.

However, the new capacity will be only a 43% increase of the Philippines' mandated volume by 2014, when its bioethanol requirement for the E10 blend is projected at 536.3m litres.

The E10 mandate requires oil companies to produce gasoline with a 10% ethanol content.

However, the agency's long-term forecast has a more positive outlook, with the industry adding 13 distilleries that use both feedstocks.

In the 2011-2012 crop year, sugarcane production in the Philippines was recorded at 2.1m tonnes, while its molasses production was at 963,000 tonnes in the same period. Its bioethanol output was at 14m litres in 2011-2012.

By 2014-2015, the country's sugarcane production will increase to 30.6m tonnes, while its bioethanol production will grow to 279m litres and to 305m litres by 2015-2016.

"If all locally produced molasses are processed into bioethanol by 2014-2015, this will readily produce 50% of the mandatory requirement [for oil companies to purchase domestic product]," Alisla said.

The Philippines' biofuels act states that oil companies must purchase 20% of locally produced bioethanol based on their allocated quarterly requirements before importing the remainder.

"[We have] an area of no less than half a million hectares of land that have been identified as potential areas for bioethanol production. This includes lots in northern Philippines as well as Mindanao and Visayas," Alisla added.

"We want to assist investors in establishing sugarcane farms and in the construction of distilleries," Alisla said.

By: Andrea Heng
+65 6780 4359

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