P6B ethanol plant opens for business in Isabela

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Green Future Innovations Inc. began operating last month its P6-billion integrated ethanol facility in Isabela, allowing the company to provide the much-needed additional ethanol supply to local oil firms, while boosting the Luzon grid’s power capacity.

Green Future president and CEO Reynaldo P. Bantug said the Japanese-backed company has yet to ramp up production at the ethanol plant to its full capacity of 200,000 liters a day, or roughly 50 million liters a year. Also, Green Future still has to maximize output of its biomass facility, which can generate up to 19 megawatts.

The target, Bantug said, is to achieve full capacities by December next year.

“We just started last November 19 and we are ramping up to that [full capacity] level. Our target for this year is to produce about 80 percent of the [ethanol plant’s full] capacity,” Bantug said.

Green Future—a venture by Japan’s Itochu Corp., JGC Corp., Philippine Bioethanol and Energy Investments Corp., and Taiwanese holding company GCO—will initially sell on the spot. But the ethanol producer hopes to forge long-term power supply contracts with local oil companies.

Over the next several months, Green Future will extend its crop year, which starts in December, to allow the company to have an operating period of as long as nine months, from an initial seven months.

This means that Green Future will have a steady supply of sugarcane.

The company is also mulling over plans to use molasses in the event of a shortfall in the supply of sugarcane, and to increase the plant’s capacity utilization.

Meanwhile, Green Future also hopes to sell as much as 13 megawatts to the Luzon grid, once its biomass facility starts operating at full capacity.

Bantug said the integrated ethanol plant’s electricity requirements would be around 5 to 6 megawatts, so the rest of the capacity may likely be sold via the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM).

Green Future is the fourth company to open an ethanol facility in the country.

Three other companies—San Carlos Bioenergy Inc., Roxol Bioenergy and Leyte Agri Corp.—produce a combined 79 million liters of ethanol annually.

But actual local demand is expected to run up to roughly 500 million liters.

The government has been pushing for the development of alternative fuels like ethanol, believing that this will play a crucial role in helping ease the impact of rising global oil prices on the economy.

Also, the Philippines hopes to increase the required ethanol fuel blend for motor vehicles from the current 10 percent.

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