Press Release
December 9, 2010


Innovative green transport systems such as electric tricycles, hybrid jeepneys and electric bicycles have the potential to lessen pollution caused by conventional transportation and the dependency on fossil fuels, according to Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee of Science and Technology outlined some of the priority initiatives of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which include the Green Transport initiative and Electric Vehicle program, highlighting the cooperation between the DOST, COMSTE and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in the development of new technology that can produce more efficient, low cost batteries and new electric vehicle design initiatives.

The electric vehicle initiative is being pushed to address the growing need for more eco-friendly, and sustainable transport. Angara said that the program can lessen the dependence on imported fuel sources and lead the way to creating energy independence while also lessening the carbon footprint of the transport sector.

Electric vehicles

COMSTE Program Consultant for the Green Vehicles Program, Dr. Manuel Biona, recently presented initiatives at developing the green transport industry at the recently convened 1st Philippine E-vehicle Summit.

Biona mentioned programs such as testing and characterization of e-vehicle components, development of design software, development of power storage and management technologies as well as developing electric public transport evaluation software, which would all support the move towards designing and developing electric trikes and hybrid electric jeeps and buses.

Angara also lauded the development of an electric bamboo bike, which was built as a thesis project by students of the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC). The bamboo electric bike promotes an eco-friendly, green transport on a smaller scale.

The bamboo bike weighs 18 kilograms and is powered by an electric motor that has a 30 km range on 5 hours of charging. The bike is technically a hybrid vehicle, as it is powered alternately by pedaling and the electric motor.

Renewable Energy Institute

Angara also highlighted the renewable energy initiatives like the establishment of the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), which will be the medium for new technologies like developing algae as a biofuel, and the formation of a local solar testing facility.

A team composed of members from Ateneo University, Alson Aquacutlure Inc., and two other photo bio-reactor companies aim 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.

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