Philippines urged to build more biomass plants

by Danessa O. Rivera – November 30, 2015 – 12:00am

from The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines should build more biomass plants, taking advantage of abundance of agricultural by-products and other waste materials, industry players said.

The country has the potential to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) from biogas plants by tapping the agricultural wastes, Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria Zabaleta said.

Instead of just burning field residues from rice, straw, cane and corn – which damages the environment, those can be collected as fuel for energy generation, he said.

“The Philippines is known as an agricultural base… and all of these necessarily leaves behind agricultural residues in fields, all of which can be tapped to generate more energy,” Zabaleta said.

“The existing volume of agricultural residues produced in the country, if utilized for power, would allow us to generate an additional 2,000 MW to the grid,” Zabaleta said.

This estimated generation is already 10 percent of the current total capacity, making it a significant contribution to Philippine power demand.

However, Zabaleta said developing this amount of capacity could take a couple of decades to realize so developers should start looking into this technology.

“It’s not something that can happen in a day, or a year or even five to 10 years to built plants to displace 10 percent of our oil imports,” he said.

“It will take 10, 20 years to tap all of our agricultural residues but we have to start somewhere,” Zabaleta noted.

In 2013, the company entered the biomass sector and is currently building its first stand-alone power plant.

The company official said the plant, which would be operational in 12 months, would be the first in three to be developed in collaboration with the International Finance Corp. of the World Bank.

Apart from agricultural residues, organic wastes could also be used to power biogas plants, First Environtech Alliance Corp. president Ditmar Gorges said.

“Some of the organic waste which can be used for biogas plants are sludge from septic tanks, which is a perfect feedstock for biogas plants,” he said.

He said sludge treatment plants would generate three times power needed to power biogas plant, so the excess power can be sold to the grid.

Gorges said food processing wastes, whether solid or in liquid form, could also be a feedstock for biomass plants.

“Solid waste from wet markets like fish innards as well as animal material from piggeries could be used to power biogas plants instead of polluting waterways,” he said. “Waste water generated by ethanol and alcohol plants are also good feedstock.”

Using waste water from ethanol plants would also help the environment because it can produce waste water equivalent to residential wastewater of about 720,000 people.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines should build more biomass plants, taking advantage of abundance of agricultural by-products and other waste materials, industry players said.

The country has the potential to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) from biogas plants by tapping the agricultural wastes, Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria Zabaleta said.

Instead of just burning field residues from rice, straw, cane and corn – which damages the environment, those can be collected as fuel for energy generation, he said.

“The Philippines is known as an agricultural base… and all of these necessarily leaves behind agricultural residues in fields, all of which can be tapped to generate more energy,” Zabaleta said.

“The existing volume of agricultural residues produced in the country, if utilized for power, would allow us to generate an additional 2,000 MW to the grid,” Zabaleta said.

This estimated generation is already 10 percent of the current total capacity, making it a significant contribution to Philippine power demand.

However, Zabaleta said developing this amount of capacity could take a couple of decades to realize so developers should start looking into this technology.

“It’s not something that can happen in a day, or a year or even five to 10 years to built plants to displace 10 percent of our oil imports,” he said.

“It will take 10, 20 years to tap all of our agricultural residues but we have to start somewhere,” Zabaleta noted.

In 2013, the company entered the biomass sector and is currently building its first stand-alone power plant.

The company official said the plant, which would be operational in 12 months, would be the first in three to be developed in collaboration with the International Finance Corp. of the World Bank.

Apart from agricultural residues, organic wastes could also be used to power biogas plants, First Environtech Alliance Corp. president Ditmar Gorges said.

“Some of the organic waste which can be used for biogas plants are sludge from septic tanks, which is a perfect feedstock for biogas plants,” he said.

He said sludge treatment plants would generate three times power needed to power biogas plant, so the excess power can be sold to the grid.

Gorges said food processing wastes, whether solid or in liquid form, could also be a feedstock for biomass plants.

“Solid waste from wet markets like fish innards as well as animal material from piggeries could be used to power biogas plants instead of polluting waterways,” he said. “Waste water generated by ethanol and alcohol plants are also good feedstock.”

Using waste water from ethanol plants would also help the environment because it can produce waste water equivalent to residential wastewater of about 720,000 people.

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