Press Release
November 3, 2010


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is looking to expand research and development (R&D) efforts into exploring the use of algae as a biofuel.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE said that the swift establishment of the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), will aid in the development of algae as a biofuel source as well as other renewable energy sources.

COMSTE reports that initial experiments in the country demonstrate that the use of algae as a biofuel has high potential, and it can also be used as a carbon capture mechanism when coupled with coal-fired plants.

A team composed of members from Ateneo University, Alson Aquacutlure Inc., and two other photo bio-reactor companies aims to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae and the cleaning of coal fired plants by placing nearby aquaculture ponds.

The US- based National Renewable Energy Laboratory is currently studying the most viable strains of algae that they can use as a renewable energy source to produce diesel, gasoline and even jet fuel.

Angara noted that even big oil companies such as Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil have started to research the use of algae as fuel. Some airlines have also begun test flights consisting of biofuel blends.

"Developing innovative Renewable Energy Systems can aid in achieving the long term goal of energy independence. With RERDI, we can fully utilize Public Private Partnerships and stimulate growth in the RE power sector," said Angara.

Another project selected by COMSTE is a solar cooling assessment, development and demonstration program by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC)/Institute of Industrial Electrical Engineers/ the De La Salle University. This project aims to retrofit old government buildings with RE systems, specifically solar cooling, which would demonstrate the effective application of RE in the local setting.

Other projects identified as priority areas for RERDI are solar photo-voltaic systems, wind power, hybrid RE systems, alternative fuels from solid residue, biodiesel production and development, gasohol related process development, and materials development for energy applications.

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