Press Release
September 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara renewed calls for the government to step up the development of alternative sources of fuel to combat the twofold threat of pollution and rising fuel costs.

Angara said that volatile fuel costs and limited supply are making the country vulnerable.

"The government should exercise foresight and invest in energy sources that will be most beneficial to our country and environment in the long run," said Angara. "Coal may the cheapest source of energy, but it is also a major pollutant."

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) published a study showing that Metro Manila is one of the highest-ranking Asian cities facing problems in air quality. The level of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in Metro Manila is more than double the limit set by the World Health Organization. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said 70 percent of this is emitted by motor vehicles.

"We have to be innovative in finding alternative fuel without further degrading the environment, increasing fuel costs and aggravating traffic," said Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

COMSTE is supporting current research on the use of algae as biofuel. According to Angara, the government should seek cooperation with countries with strong research and development (R&D) efforts on algae use, and even institute a national project utilizing algae for energy production.

"We have to take into account the kind of resources readily available in our country, so we no longer have to import," explained the veteran lawmaker. "We have plenty of algae here.

"The algae industry presents immense potential, not only for lessening the use of fossil fuels and fighting climate change, but also for jumpstarting an entire industry with great commercial value," he added.

The Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research in Wales reports that the algae biofuel industry had an estimated value of $700 million in 2004, and is continuing to grow. The United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory is also conducting studies on the use of algae to produce diesel, gasoline and even jet fuel.

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