Two Private Agencies Move For Higher Bio-diesel Component

A fruitful coconut tree. The problem is that coconut oil prices have slumped.

Two private agencies have proposed the increase in the percentage of biodiesel component blended in locally available diesel to 5 percent by 2021 from the current level of 2 percent. The agencies are The Philippine Biodiesel Association (TPBA) and the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).

The move is being espoused in the wake of slumping coconut oil prices in the world market due to an oversupply, adversely impacting on the income of coconut farmers as well as on the economy of the country as a whole. 

At farmgate the price of mature nuts has gone down to as low as P2 per piece, according to a plantation owner from Alitagtag, Batangas.

TPBA which is composed of 11 companies engaged in value-adding of various coconut products while UCAP is made up of coconut planters, researchers, traders, oil mills and other stakeholders. The groups are pushing for the gradual adjustment – to 3 percent by end of 2019, 4 percent by 2020 and 5 percent in 2021.

Dean Lao Jr., TPBA spokesperson, said that the Philippines was the pioneer in Southeast Asia in blending biodiesel. But when Indonesia and Malaysia followed suit, they immediately jumped to 5 percent using palm-biodiesel. Indonesia is already considering increasing that level to 30 percent, he revealed.

According to Department of Energy Adviser Rafael S. Diaz, Malaysia and Indonesia currently have an oversupply of palm oil, hence the increase in their use of palm-biodiesel. The Philippines can do the same with the oversupply of coconut oil. He emphasized, however that coconut oil is far superior as a biodiesel feedstock compared to palm oil and other types of oil like soya bean oil, canola oil and sunflower oil. 

Diaz admits that increasing the coconut methyl ester (CME) may not lower the pump price of diesel at this time but it can result in fuel savings in the form of higher mileage per liter and being more friendly to the environment.

Diaz explained that “coco-biodiesel makes diesel fuel burn easily and completely, leading to more power and mileage improvement. “CME has a cleaning effect in the fuel system of the car, from the fuel line to the injectors. CME can restore spray atomization of engines which will improve a diesel engine’s combustion and power output,” he said.

By the way, the proposal was discussed during a press briefing at the Chemrez headquarters in Quezon City on July 11. The proposal will be among those that will be discussed at the 2nd World Coconut Congress to be held on August 27 to 29, 2019 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. It will be a gathering of numerous experts from various global industries that are involved in the use of coconut oil and products.

For inquiries, call the United Coconut Association of the Philippines at +632-584-5338 or the World Expos & Concepts Inc. at +632-855-8341 to 44.

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