Ethanol Producers Push for Energy Research Institute
The Center for Alcohol Research and Development (CARD) expressed strong support to the Senate Bill No. 1574, also known as the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute (PERPI) Act of 2018 sponsored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian as it will help grow the industry.
CARD chairman Gerardo Tee said there is a need for more research and development to enable the bioethanol industry to cope with advancements in technology.
“The PERPI is connected with bioethanol because we are operating within the energy industry. The more data we get from the situation that abounds right now in the Philippines, the more we will be able to prosper as an industry. I hope that the effect of bioethanol on the environment is taken also into consideration because we don’t have good data on that,” Tee said.
The bill aims to create a world-class think tank meant to bridge research and policy gaps in the Philippine energy sector, in hopes of fostering greater energy security, sustainability, and affordability in the country.
“We are supporting research on the energy mix. We’re supporting research on the advantages of this biofuel, 10 to 15 years from now. Remember Brazil, is doing 100 percent, 85 percent at least of bioethanol for transportation,” the CARD official said.
The Biofuels Law mandates a 10 percent blend of ethanol in gasoline but other countries such as Brazil have long imposed a higher blend to reduce their dependence on imported fuels for their transportation sector.
“Why transportation, because it’s one of the largest sources of carbon. We wanted also to be carbon neutral. The alcohol industry also wants to be carbon neutral also. We wanted to fix our carbon footprint. I guess the PERPI would give us data or would reinforce the advantages of the bioethanol industry,” Tee said.
SB 1574 mandates the establishment of the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute at the University of the Philippines.
PERPI is inspired by similar international energy think tanks hosted by top American universities. It will be tasked to conduct multidisciplinary energy research, incubate and develop cutting edge technologies, and serve as the sparring partner for the government during the energy policy-making process.
According to Tee, PERPI will help the industry “on how best to improve our best practices.”
“We will be reading all those data. It’s a scientific approach. We have to take in technological advancement in the industry because that is continuous,” he said.
Tee added that there are new development in alcohol manufacturing that are just developing now or may be feasible in the next few years and the industry should be ready to adopt to those technologies
Gatchalian is proposing that as a publicly-funded institute, PERPI will be in charge of ensuring that the results of its research and policy development activities are used to craft energy sector reforms for the benefit of the national economy and promote the welfare of the Filipino people.
The bill appropriates P200 million for the initial funding of the think tank. An Endowment Fund will also be established to further power the institute’s research.
“More than ever, the Philippines needs to develop a stable, affordable, and sustainable energy supply, as this will be critical to meeting the country’s ambitious long term socio-economic goals. I firmly believe that the PERPI Act will empower us to meet these goals and help us build a stronger and more prosperous future for our nation,” Gatchalian said.