MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coconut Authority will increase the coco methyl ester (CME) content of biodiesel from two percent to five percent as part of efforts to improve the country’s energy mix.
Biodiesel is a blend of diesel fuel and CME, a derivative of coconut oil. The current diesel blend in the country consists only of two percent CME and 98 percent regular diesel.
Under the Philippine Energy Plan 2012-2030, biodiesel should contain at least five percent CME by 2020.
However, this target was not met due to the impact of the pandemic such as the lack of assurance in the sufficiency of biodiesel supply due to limitations in logistics and transportation difficulties.
For some, increasing the blend was not a good idea as it would translate to higher pump prices.
PCA administrator Benjamin Madrigal said aside from its positive effect on the environment, health and fuel efficiency, one of the benefits of hiking the biodiesel blend from B2 to B5 is the increased domestic utilization of crude coconut oil (CNO).
This would lessen the country’s dependence on the unstable world market price for copra, CNO and other coconut-based products.
“The increase in the domestic demand for coconut oil through the full implementation of B5 will definitely improve the copra farm gate price and will eventually redound to the benefits of our farmers,” Madrigal said.
An increase in coco biodiesel blend to five percent is seen translating to 350,000 metric tons of coconut oil consumption, which is about 29 percent of yearly coconut oil production.
The main objective of the Biofuels Act is to achieve a sustainable future by reducing importation of refined fuel such as diesel and gasoline, and at the same time, increase the income of farmers.
Other direct impacts of B5 implementation include the restoration of engine efficacy due to clean combustion with more power and mileage efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and foreign exchange savings on fuel import which amounts to about P13.6 billion per year.
Philippine biodiesel has the lowest percentage of vegetable oil blended to regular diesel among ASEAN countries.
For instance, Malaysia and Thailand mandate that the biodiesel sold in their markets should contain at least seven percent palm oil while Indonesia is much higher at 20 percent.