At least nine ethanol-producing facilities worth an estimated P15 billion are expected to be up and running over the next two years to meet the rising biofuel demand of local oil companies, which are mandated to blend 10 percent ethanol in their gasoline products.
Mario Marasigan, director of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Energy Utilization and Management Bureau, said that these facilities, with a combined capacity of 30 million liters annually and costing about P1.6 billion to P2 billion each, should be able to meet the requirements of local oil companies over the next few years.
In 2011, the local demand for ethanol stood at 481 million liters. This year, demand is expected to run up to roughly 500 million liters.
Local ethanol supply, however, is not enough as there are only three ethanol facilities producing a combined 79 million liters.
These are San Carlos Bioenergy Inc., Roxol Bioenergy and Leyte Agri Corp.
Within the first quarter of this year, the DoE expects Green Futures Innovation to start the commercial operations of its 54-million-liter ethanol facility in Isabela, Marasigan said Thursday on the sidelines of the First Philippine International BioEnergy Conference.
Within the next two years, two more companies, according to Marasigan, are expected to start construction of their facilities, which will be able to contribute another 79 million liters of ethanol to local demand. Cavite Biofuels and Kanlaon Alcogreen Inc. have both been accredited by the DoE for their planned ethanol plants, which have annual capacities of 34 million liters and 45 million liters, respectively.
In a separate interview with reporters, Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr. expressed confidence that those companies that have earlier expressed interest to invest in the local ethanol industry will push through with their planned investments.
Among those that had expressed interest to build a facility is San Miguel Corp., which was earlier reported to be looking at 76,000 hectares of land—22,000 ha in Bago, Negros Occidental; and 18,000 ha each in Batangas, Tarlac, and Ilocos region.