The huge, barely tapped potential of the sugarcane industry to produce much needed bioethanol as a gasoline additive, and biomass power, should be harnessed to enable local stakeholders to survive beyond 2015 when tariff on cheap imported sugar entering the country drops to a nominal five percent.
This was stressed by JoseLayugJr., SRA consultant and former Department of Energy undersecretary, in a briefing for Negros Occidental officials and sugar leaders at the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters headquarters in Bacolod City, yesterday.
Four firms in the country currently produce 131,000,000 liters of bioethanol (Leyte Agri Corp. in Leyte - 10,000,000, San Carlos Bioenergy Inc. in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental - 37,000,000, Roxol Bioenergy Corporation in Bgy. Roberto S. Benedicto, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental - 30,000,000, and Green Future Innovations in Isabela province - 54,000,000), he said.
The current production serves only 25 percent of 400 million liters per annum requirement of the country, or 10 percent ethanol blend for gasoline, he said.
Layug also noted that while there is a 250-megawatt installation target for biomass, only 164 MWs of existing biomass renewable energy contracts exist, so far.
Sugar Regulatory Administrator Ma. Regina Martin said her office is finalizing the guidelines for the allocation of a portion of next crop year’s sugarcane production for bioethanol.
It will be known as F, or Fermented sugar, she said.
We are doing this to let the world know that the country is serious about its bioethanol production, she said.
She said a Universal Robina Corp. bioethanol plant, expected to produce 40 million liters a year, is also set to be operational in Negros Oriental soon.*CPG