Press Release
October 10, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the Aquino administration to devote resources into conducting research and development (R&D) on the use of algae for biofuels.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made his statement as Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras told reporters that PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp. has dropped its plans for the cultivation of jatropha as a biofuel, after studies have shown that such plans were not viable.

Almendras continued that the PNOC unit will use the remaining funds previously earmarked for the program into developing other possible alternative fuel sources, including algae.

"If there's untapped potential in algae as a sustainable energy resource, then our efforts should be focused on realizing that potential," said Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

In January 2010, the US government set aside US$80 million to fund biofuels research and development. Around US$40 million went to the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB), which is coordinating multi-stakeholder initiatives towards the commercialization of algae-based biofuels.

The UK government has also invested heavily in algal research, initially pouring �8 million (US$12.3 million) into the Algae Biofuels Challenge of Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company created to usher in a low-carbon economy. However, government funding for the company was reduced by 40 percent earlier this year on account of the economic troubles faced by the country.

"Clearly, other countries are already investing heavily into algal research for biofuels. Some of the R&D that has been started elsewhere can definitely be continued here, given that our climate is perfect for algae propagation," said Angara.

The veteran lawmaker noted that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) have already pledged funding for the establishment of the Philippine Institute for Algae Research and Commercialization (PINARC) which will act as an innovation cluster�a tripartite partnership among government, academe and industry for algal R&D.

"Algal R&D should become a national priority. The establishment of PINARC will be a clear sign to the international scientific community and potential investors that we are serious in participating in the global drive to commercialize algae for fuel," said Angara.

News Latest News Feed