Press Release
February 19, 2011


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is supporting the expansion of research and development (R&D) into the use of algae as a biofuel by backing the Philippine entry into the 2011 Algae competition.

The competition seeks to find visionary food and energy systems. Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE said that a team from Alson's Aquaculture and the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC) has been collaborating as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to study the use of algae as a biofuel.

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.

The team from the AIC and Alsons, plus 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.

Dr. Catalino Blanche, a national program leader with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that the US is studying ways to develop algae as a biofuel, to displace the fuel needs of the country. It is estimated that algae can produce up to 1,200 -10,000 gallons per acre, according to a study of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL).

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.

According to Angara, Mexico is developing a program that can potentially replace fossil fuels with biofuel blends. The project aims to produce 1% of the nation's jet fuel from algae in less than five years.

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