German firms keen on PH bioenergy sector

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jan 24 2013 08:29 AM | Updated as of Jan 24 2013 04:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Eight German firms have expressed interest to provide technology solutions on bioenergy for the Philippines.

The eight firms are Vastani GmbH, Eckrohrkessel GmbH, Envitec Biogas Ag, GTP Solutions GmBH, Binder GmbH, Ascentec GmbH, Novis GmbH and Pregobello GmbH.

Company representatives are currently in the country to share knowledge, introduce innovative solutions on bionenergy for the Philippine market, and to network to identify local partners and projects. They will also visit selected biomass and biogas projects in Southern Luzon to explore on-site the challenges and opportunities of producing energy from biomass and biogas.

Bioenergy is energy derived from biomass which includes biological materials, such as plants and animals, wood, waste, gas, and alcohol fuels.

Werner Siemers, consultant for Deutsche Gesellschaft International Zusammenarbeit, said the country has a wide range of alternative energy sources. “Fortunately, for the Philippines, it already has many things in place to make possible the shift to renewable energy, particularly biomass and biogas,” he said.

Biogas is produced after a process of fermentation of biomass like manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste and plant materials. Leftover biogas can also be used as highly nutritious fertilizer products.

Siemers noted that the country has an abundance of agricultural residues which can be used for bioenergy production such as sugarcane bagasse, rice hulls, coconut husks and other farm residue which remain underutilized.

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca said the government has put in place the necessary political framework such as the enactment of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which brought provides for the implementation of the feed-in tariff (Fit) scheme.

Fit is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies. It achieves this by offering long-term contracts to renewable-energy producers, typically based on the cost of generation of each technology.

The rising in prices of fossil fuel coupled with the increased demand for energy have brought about a stronger need for the country to explore alternative energy sources. Apart from the reduction in the country’s dependence on fossil fuel, production of bioenergy is also seen to provide new sources of livelihood and employment for Filipinos.