5% biodiesel blend to save P13-B in foreign exchange

Published February 24, 2021, 7:30 AM

by James A. Loyola

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan to increase the biodiesel blend to 5.0 percent by volume (B5) this year is seen to translate to P13 billion in foreign exchange (forex) savings for the Philippines. 

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the industry regulating body which shares a seat with DOE in the country’s National Biodiesel Board (NBB), project the savings based on diesel oil importation costs. 

MB FILE-A coconut plantation in Malvar, Batangas. (KJ ROSALES) | mb.com.ph

Biodiesel advocates, such as The Philippine Biodiesel Association, say that savings from B5 will also be felt by motorists.

Notedpetroleum and biofuel consultant Rafael Diaz explained that there has been an established 6 percent mileage gain result by using B5, translating to a net fuel cost savings of P1.39 up to P2.97 per liter based on current diesel pump prices.

The University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies (UPNCTS) conducted the “on-road” mileage study in collaboration with the DOE, the PCA, and the Land Transportation Office which determined the appropriate jeepney condition to be used.  

Tested were several Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJ) plying the most traffic prone routes in Metro Manila. Five days for jeepneys pumped with B2, the current blend of biodiesel we still use today and a 20-day test for vehicles pumped with B5. Distance ranged from 1-20 kilometers.

The study showed an average of 6 percent increase in mileage gain using the coco biodiesel B5 blend.

Greater mileage has been attained with B5 Coco biodiesel with recorded mileage gain ranging from 6 percent on “stop and go” city driving cycle, and 10 percent percent to a liter of B5 blended diesel on “continuous driving cycle.”

Using current diesel pump price, Diaz cites as an example a diesel SUV travelling the distance of 22 kilometers from Quezon City to Mall of Asia in Pasay.

Given the mileage efficiency of the SUV at 8 kilometers to a liter, a 6 percent mileage gain increases the SUV’s mileage efficiency to 8.48 km per liter. Total savings, according to Diaz for the 22 km one-way trip will amount to P3.60 in fuel cost.

The fuel cost savings attributed to mileage gain with B5 is one of the most significant benefits of B5, along with better combustion, cleaner air that results to wellness of public health and less engine breakdown, according to Diaz,who spent a total of 35 years in the petroleum and biofuel industry.

Studies done here and abroad by academic institutions such as the Nihon University, University of Malaya, the University of the Philippines Los Banos, along with Energy Malaysia and the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory, showed significant reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbon (HC), sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels from B5-fed diesel engines.(James A. Loyola)