Groundbreaking rites were held recently for the $35 million ethanol distillery plant of the Universal Robina Corp. in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, a government press release said.
The plant, located in the company’s sugar central facility, is expected to start operations in March 2014, and will produce around 100,000 liters per day, or 30 million liters of ethanol fuel each year, Renato Cabati, Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corp. general manager, said.
It will run mostly on blackstrap molasses, a by-product of sugar, and aims to support the government’s efforts to reduce the country’s dependence on imported ethanol.
Bio-ethanol is used to fuel cars in 12 countries, like Brazil, where one third of the cars use pure bioethanol as fuel and the two-thirds use a mixture of gasoline and ethanol, Cabati said.
The Department of Energy embarked on a bio-ethanol program in 2007, and requires oil companies to blend gasoline with ethanol.
Cabati said the mandatory use of fuel ethanol blend will reduce the Philippines' consumption of imported petroleum by up to 536 million liters a year, roughly valued at $404 million, the press release said.
Senator Franklin Drilon, who was at the groundbreaking rites, said the venture will support the domestic sugar industry, and lauded business tycoon John Gokongwei for his leadership and pioneering spirit.
Gokongwei, chairman emeritus of the JG Summit Holdings Inc., said in a statement that he was proud of what the company's businesses in Negros have achieved. "This ceremony is a truly promising start to this venture," he said.
JG Summit is the mother company of URC, that owns three sugar mills in Negros Island, the Passi Sugar Central in Iloilo and the Cagayan Robina Sugar Milling Co. in Cagayan Valley.
The ethanol plant in Manjuyod is its first.
Cabati assured Negrenses the plant is adopting the latest technology in distillery operations, and installing the first spent wash incineration boiler in Southeast Asia, which assures an effective wastewater treatment facility, the press release added.*
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