Local scientist urges use of biofuels amid dwindling world oil supply
By Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (28 August ) -– His futuristic pronouncement and outlook on the world’s oil supply sent a chilling message to his compatriots in the field of research and to the other participants of the 18th Regional Research and Development Extension (RDE) held recently at Naval Institute of Technology (NIT).
In a plenary paper titled Biofuels: Current Status and Application in the Philippines presented by Dr. Roberto C. Guarte, Dean of the College of Engineering and Agriculture at the Leyte State University (formerly VISCA), the famous local scientist and inventor categorically stated that the world’s oil supply is dwindling.
This fellow who lived most of his life on research work that led to the discovery of several notable local inventions like the plant oil stove with Protos as brand name which can be operated even with the use of used cooking oil and the improvised solar copra dryer and many other local inventions that helped much in the agribusiness technology being credited to the person.
Dr. Guarte presented that the worldwide consumption of oil in 2005 has reached 121 million barrels per day and it is expected that the world’s oil will ran out of supply in 2040 due to the current consumption of 24 billion barrels per year.
He showed through a graphical presentation in his paper that about 1,600 billion barrels or more were available in 1960 compared to only 200 billion barrels that will be made available in 2040.
Dr. Guarte said that the need to use other alternative sources of oil energy like the use of renewable biofuels from biomass like methane, ethanol and biodiesel must now be intensely started, used and put to practice in the county considering the situation of world’s oil supply.
Biofuels has infinite supply which is the sun as the primary source where the energy released from it is transformed into chemical energy in the form of hydrocarbons by the plants, based in the paper of Dr. Guarte
The paper also showed that biodiesel which is one form of biofuels is produced using either of the following oil such as in the crude, refine and virgin coconut oil, jathropa oil, rapeseed, sunflower, palm oil, soybean, used vegetable oil and animal fats.
It is also said in the paper that biofuels are renewable fuels that can be produced in any climate using already developed agricultural techniques.
Presently, Shell Philippines is marketing E20 but the same is imported from Brazil and there is a need to source-out oil locally but there is no available company for this purpose, Dr. Guarte said.
However, Dr. Guarte also said that there were two pending legislations in the Senate requiring the use of biofuels like Senate Bill No.1677 on National Fuel Ethanol Program and Senate Bill No. 2226 requiring everybody to use biofuels such as ethanol for engines sold in the country.
He, too admitted that the gasoline used in the Ford Focus car he owned is blended with 5% biodiesel for almost a year now and he finds it to have a high octane rating, better combustion, cleaner fuel injection/engines, improved fuel economy especially in carbureted engines and likewise reduces greenhouse gas by 19%, carbon monoxide by 30%, toxic emissions up to 22% and lower the potential of ozone damage.
Dr. Guarte said that the energy sector goal under the Philippine Energy Plan Framework includes attaining 60% self-sufficiency level by 2010, increased renewable energy-based capacity in 10 years, attained 10% ethanol with gasoline fuel for vehicles by 2007 and to reach 25% in 2010, attained 5% biodiesel blend with diesel fuel for vehicles in 2010, increase oil and gas reserves by 20% in 10 years and to forge agreements with existing and new energy partners.
Dr. Guarte admitted that the realization to reduce the country’s dependency on oil using ethanol or biodiesel needs the strong political will of the country’s leaders to implement the good plans and objectives of the energy sector and to perhaps for the government to give full support to the local researches and inventions that have something to do with the reduction on oil dependency. (PIA-Biliran) [top]