The Philippine coconut industry is urging the government to act on the long-delayed increase in the coco-biodiesel blend to 5 percent of all diesel sold at the pumps as this is crucial to helping farmers amid hard times wrought by the pandemic.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) had assured that there is more than enough feedstock supply and the move will benefit farmers.
The Philippine Biodiesel Association (TPBA), the country’s leading group of biodiesel stakeholders and advocates, said the industry has always supported the local coconut farmers’ welfare.
It noted that, “there is a 5 centavos 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.”
Under the Philippine Energy Plan
,biodiesel should contain at least 5 percent CME blend by 2020.
In shifting to B5 from B2 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, projected feed stock supply is pegged at 20 billion nuts.
According to the PCA, 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 (CME) 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 at the same time, increase the income of farmers.
Leading biodiesel advocate and consultant Engr. Rafael Diaz explains “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.”
In this age of living under a pandemic, Diaz said “high levels of air pollutants, Total Suspended Particulates (TSP), causes spike in respiratory ailments which weaken the lungs and making it more prone to COVID transmission.”
He explained that, “there is a sort of environmental ‘TSP immunization’ uniquely ready now in the Philippines. It is by simply blending 5 percent CME (B5) in diesel fuel which guarantees clean engine combustion. It eliminates emission of air pollutants ensuring public health wellness from respiratory ailments.”
The PCA and TPBA says the B5 CME advocacy ensures clean air and eliminates respiratory complication at no cost to government because the private sector provides it. All it takes is the endorsement and push of DOE.
TPBA said shifting to B5 will translate to foreign exchange savings on fuel import amounting to nearly P13.6 billion per year. The value of displaced petro-diesel will effectively benefit local producers.
Motorists will also gain, both in mileage and savings. Diaz, citing the on-road tests conducted by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies (UPNCTS), in collaboration DOE and PCA, said there is a 6 to 10 percent increase in mileage gain using the coco biodiesel B5 blend.
Diaz said this translates to a net fuel cost savings ranging from P1.50 to P3.00 per liter of B5 diesel based on current pump prices.
“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 adding that, “our planet needs it, our farmers need it, our manufacturers are ready, our lawmakers can make it happen, today!”