Energy Dept.: Host of problems hinders biomass energy devt
The lack of technology, financing, and feedstock supply are among the hurdles facing developers of biomass and biogas in the country, the Department of Energy said Wednesday.
“So far, medyo maganda po, maraming gustong magdevelop ng biomass sa country, but the problem na hinaharap ng iba ay yung sustainability nung feedstock,” said Andresito Ulgado, supervising science research specialist of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau, an energy Department agency.
Renewable, biological feedstock to fuel biomass production consists largely of agriculture waste that include rice hull, rice straw, bagasse, cane trash, coconut wastes, corn cob/trash and animal waste, according to the Energy official.
“Kung walang enough feed stock or enough agricultural waste na based sa computation e yun ang kailangan mo [to produce biomass] hindi namin aaprubahan at doon po sila medyo natatagalan,” Ulgado told GMA News Online at the sidelines of a briefing in Makati City.
“Pangalawa, kung nabigyan na ng kontrata, minsan yung financing [ang problema]. Dapat financially capable, may pera ka, kaya mong i-finance yung project,” he added.
The DOE has awarded 27 service contracts for biomass projects since 2009 that covers 200 megawatts in total output. One of those given a contract was a group of 33 rice millers in Isabela. Twenty-two contracts were given to producers that would consume their own output.
At present, the DOE is evaluating eight applications.
To address the need for technology, Ugaldo welcomed the interest of eight German companies to partner with local companies in biomass and biogas projects in the country.
“They can provide the technology. Yung efficient technology that they can offer na pwedeng gamitin at yung parternship sa local para maproduce yan locally,” he said.
The German companies are Vastani GmbH, Eckrohrkessel GmbH, Envitech Biogas AG, GTP
Solutions GMbH, Binder GmbH, Ascentec GmbH, Novis GmbH, and Pregobello GmBH.
Their representatives are currently on a business trip in the Philippines to introduce innovative solutions in bioenergy for the domestic market and look for local partners. Technology experts and representatives of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and GIZ are with them.
Germans in search of partners
On Monday, the German contingent met with some 200 representatives of the Philippine biomass and biogas sector.
They will visit selected biomass and biogas projects in Southern Luzon to explore on site challenges and opportunities.
In the briefing on Wednesday, Gunther Matschuck, German-Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said the companies would like to go into partnerships and build plants in the Philippines.
These projects would need manpower – from construction to operation – thus boosting countryside employment, said Matschuck.
Martial Beck, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines vice president, noted the Germans are satisfied with some of the projects in the Philippines.
“They were really very happy with the quality of the projects they were informed about and therefore they are very optimistic,” he said.
German companies know that biomass projects do not happen overnight, because “even in Germany it took some time before all of these were implemented, so it is a normal situation that it takes time,” he added.
He noted that some of the companies are making partial investments in some projects.
“The banks, such as Bank of the Philippine Islands and Banco de Oro, are also willing to allocate the loans. Therefore, we have all the ingredients necessary to now go and start biomass and
biogas projects here in the Philippines,” Beck noted.
In a statement, Werner Siemers, GIZ consultant for biomass and biogas energy, said rising prices of fossil fuel and higher demand for energy have brought about a stronger need to explore alternative energy sources.
“Fortunately for the Philippines, it already has many things in place to make possible the shift to renewable energy, particularly biomass and biogas, which is produced after a process of fermentation of biomass like manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste, plant material and crops,” said Siemers.
“In addition, the leftover by-product of biogas is also a highly nutritious fertilizer which can be used in farms,” he added. — VS, GMA News
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