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October 08, 2011

Philippine National Oil Company abandons 'unviable' jatropha plans

by Amy R. Remo

PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp, the biofuels arm of Philippine National Oil Company has abandoned plans to develop jatropha as a possible biofuel source.

The company, after undertaking initial studies, found that the plan was not viable. It now intends to use the remaining funds earmarked for jatropha in developing other possible fuel alternatives.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras said PNOC-AFC was now “out” of the agreements and contracts it previously signed for the development of jatropha.

The company is currently studying the viability of sorghum, kamoteng kahoy and other plants as possible biofuels feedstock.

For biodiesel, the government is considering algae as a possible alternative fuel. “But there will be no massive investment for now. We will first study our options,” Almendras said.

This means, the remaining P400 million from the P1 billion budget allocated for the development of jatropha back in 2009 will not be used unless the other possible raw materials for biofuels are already proven viable.

The passage of the Biofuels Law in 2006 prompted several companies to look into and develop jatropha as an alternative fuel. PNOC-AFC, as the biofuels arm of Philippine National Oil Co., was tasked to promote and accelerate the use of biofuels to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuel.

Philippine Daily Inquirer

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