Biomass Power for Bantayan Island, Cebu

PHILIPPINES - Island folks of Bantayan Island, in the northern tip of Cebu, may soon enjoy the benefits of a renewable energy source abundant in the locality – biomass.
calendar icon 23 June 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Local officials of the island are tying up with some Chinese investors to explore the possibility of building a biomass plant to produce biogas from chicken manure and wastes from piggeries, according to Engr. Ed Amante, the chief of the Energy Resource Development of the Department of Energy (DOE) – Visayas.

“Poultry is the main line of business in the island and there are also quite a number of piggeries. Everyday, abundant wastes are accumulated which could otherwise be put to good use such as power generation,” Amante declared.

Biomass is generated from wastes, hydrogen gas, alcohol fuels and wood.

Bantayan Island composed of three municipalities – Bantayan, Madridejos and Santa Fe – is popularly known as the ‘Egg Basket,’ generating more than one million and a half eggs a day or over 40 million eggs in a month to supply the increasing demand for Cebu and exporting these eggs to neighbouring provinces of Negros, Panay and Leyte.

Mr Amante said they are now trying to apply for a service contract from the DOE on the long-term viability of the project.

The DOE-7 official said electricity generated from biomass in the island only amounts to 30 kilowatts but in case the move pushes through, power generation could tremendously increase to slightly over one megawatt, which is more than enough to power the whole of Bantayan Island.

Mr Amante, however, could not guarantee that the cost of electricity may be lower than the traditional fuel-powered generation.

“But the technology used in producing power from biomass is not that expensive compared to technologies used in wind or solar energy, he said.

"So perhaps, the cost of power may not be that expensive or just on par with the use of conventional electricity from fuel,” Mr Amante said.

The Government is adopting the use of green technology or renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal and biomass to generate electricity in the long-term approach. This also lessens the country’s dependence on fossil fuel, which has high exorbitant costs as prices are dictated by the global market while renewable energy sources, on the other hand, are indigenous resources found in the locality which could be tapped as power generators.

Fossil fuel, meanwhile, largely contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This has led to a paradigm shift to the use of alternative sources of energy.

Amante said that the Philippines, as an archipelagic country, has huge potentials in solar, wind and ocean for power generation. Hence, he urged investors to invest in such projects.

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