Joint venture to build ethanol plant in Isabela

A joint venture firm is building a P6-billion ethanol plant in Isabela to augment the supply of ethanol in the country.
The project aims to produce 54 million liters of ethanol and around 100,000 megawatts of electricity per year.

In a statement, Reynaldo P. Bantug, president of Green Future Innovations, Inc., said the plant will help reduce importation of ethanol by oil companies.

“Right now we import our fuel needs and foreign exchange goes to the rich Middle Eastern nations. This project will grow biofuel in the field,” said Mr. Bantug.

The bioethanol plant, which will rise in San Mariano, Isabela, is a joint venture between Japanese companies Itochu Corp. and JGC Corp., Taiwanese holding company GCO, and the Philippine Bioethanol and Energy Investments Corp. It will use sugar cane from 11,000 hectares of land as raw material. The plant is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2012.

“A substantial part of our farmland is idle land right now. We’ll be going from nothing to something, and with all these opportunities for the municipality, we expect a net-positive impact,” said Philippine Bioethanol President Winston Uy in the statement.

He said the company was awaiting the feed-in tariff rate and biofuel incentive programs “among the other attractions of the local biofuels and renewable energy laws.” The feed-in tariff is guaranteed payment for renewable energy investors through a universal charge.

Currently, all fuel sold at the pumps must have 5% ethanol content. By February it is expected that oil companies will increase the blend to 10% in accordance with Republic Act No. 9367 or the 2006 Biofuels Law.

Under that measure, oil companies are allowed to import ethanol in the first four years of the law’s implementation and only the shortfall after that period. There is an estimated annual demand of 200 million liters for ethanol in the country. The installed capacity of the bioethanol plants in the country is around 80 million liters, from plants operated by San Carlos Bioenergy and Roxol Bioenergy, Inc.

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