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Coconut biodiesel increase suggested by lawmaker in Philippines

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In a recent press release chairman of the senate committees on energy, and economic affairs in the Philippines, Senator Win Gatchalian, is urging the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Biofuels Board (NBB) to study the proposal of the Department of Agriculture to increase coconut content in biodiesel. The increase would be from 2% to 5%.

It was after Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced that he would be lobbying for the increase of biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 in order to absorb oversupply in the copra industry that Gatchalian decided to push his plan.

Gatchalian explains that B2 biodiesel is a blend of 2% agricultural products and 98% clean diesel and that B5 is a blend of 5% agricultural products and 95% clean diesel.

Senator Win Gatchalian highlights that it is ‘paramount’ for the NBB to study whether an increase to 5% blend is warranted and whether local production of feedstocks is sufficient to meet present and future demand.

“The DOE and NBB should weigh the impact of increasing the biofuel content from B2 to B5, especially with the recent implementation of the new round of increases in the excise tax on fuel in January,” Gatchalian said.

“After all, the law requires the recommendation of the NBB before the DOE decides to increase the blend.”

The study that Gatchalian’s office conducted estimated that increasing the biofuel content in diesel from B2 to B5 may result in a 7.5% increase, equivalent to ₱2.86, in the pump price of biodiesel.

Gatchalian states that during the last Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Biofuels hearing, there had been concerns of lack of feedstock, which he said prevented the DOE from mandating the increase from the current two percent blend.

Data from the DOE shows that the annual capacity for biodiesel in 2017 was 574.9 million litres but that production was only at 39% of capacity.

Gatchalian concludes, “I hope that we can agree on action steps in order to move the industry forward and attain the goal of energy security and environmental sustainability as envisioned by the authors of the Biofuels Act.”