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PIA Press Release

RDC reports on-going bio-power projects in Ilocos

By Freddie G. Lazaro

San Fernando City, La Union (June 15) -- Studies on major bio-fuel sources that provide alternative power are now in full swing in the research centers of two prominent academes in the region, the Regional Development Council (RDC) reported here.

The research project will ultimately look into the best processes and sources of alternative fuel in the region that will help mitigate the unstable high prices of fuel products in the world market.

According to RDC Chairman Deogracias Victor "DV" B. Savellano - an incumbent Ilocos Sur Governor, the research center of the Mariano Marcos State Universtiy (MMSU) implements the Jathropa Project, which focuses on the collection, screening and characterization of Jatropha provenances, generation or adaptations of innovation on the production, processing and utilization of Jathropa as bio-fuel. MMSU had established a nursery with a capacity of 50,000 seedlings per garden bed.

He told that the Pangasinan State University (PSU) is also undertaking a similar project on Jatropha. A 1.3 hectare Jatropha nursery with a capacity of 115, 000 seedlings per annum was established. Pilot Jatropha plantation was established and developed with a 12.8 hectares area for production and demonstration purposes.

"The bio-power project is one way of solving the problem on climate change because this will contribute to the reduction of green house gas emissions in the atmosphere," he said.

Presidential Assistant Enrie A. Mendoza, the RDC's Bio- power Committee Chairperson, told that the RDC is also look into the bio-oil derived from lignocellullosic and cellulosic materials such as wood barks, rice husks, corn stalks, animal dungs and waste papers as another potential biofuel alternatives.

"Biofuel is any fuel derived from organic matter. It is a renewable source of energy unlike any other resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. One advantage of biofuel in comparison to most fuel types is its biodegradability, thus its handling and use is relatively harmless to the environment," Mendoza explained.

"Bio-oil is not actually oil but it is a liquid biomass that is clean-burning, has low sulfur content and is a carbon dioxide-neutral fuel," he added.

Mendoza clarified that bio-oil poses no competition to food production.

"Food component in the food crop is not touched and only residue is taken out during the process of getting food component," Mendoza added.

To institutionalize the study on bio-power sources, Mendoza suggested for the integration of all bio-power related projects in the region for a more consolidated effort. This was supported by the proposal of Dr. Nathaniel Alimbuyod of MMSU to formulate a Research, Development and Extension (RDE) Agenda for Bio-energy in Region 1.

According to Mendoza, the production of bio-fuel is labor intensive which earned the project's title: "Pro-poor Bio-power Development Program" because of its potential to provide alternative jobs were seedling production alone could derive an income of P6.00 per seedling. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]

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