September 20, 2007 (PIA Daily) – The Philippine National Oil Company – Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-owned PNOC, said that research and development initiatives to determine the best variety of jatropha is concluding this year end.”We want the public to know that wide-scale scientific work on jatropha is being done by PNOC-AFC, concerned government agencies and the academe. There is an ongoing study to find out which is the best variety of jatropha that can be planted and is suitable in various parts of the country. And while studies are ongoing we encourage private initiatives on propagation of local provenances. Test, learn, and build confidence,” said Peter Anthony A. Abaya, president and chief executive officer of PNOC-AFC.
The PNOC-AFC acknowledges the need to have at least 10,000 liters for testing jatropha’s properties that is why the Company has already started pilot nurseries and plantations in various parts of the country to address this need. The PNOC-AFC agrees with a Goldman Sachs Report that jatropha has a huge potential as a biodiesel feedstock.
“The Company wants to stress that we do not encourage replacement of food crops for biodiesel crops. Jatropha planting gives an opportunity to farmers and organized groups to earn income from idle, marginal and underutilized and unproductive land. We see more than five million hectares of arable lands that fall in that category, ” Abaya stated.
“In our model provenance site, we intercrop jatropha with other crops to optimize the productivity of the land that will be used in planting. To date, we have not come across any literature or actual evidence proving that jatropha had an allelophatic effect on the growth of another plant,” explained Abaya. “We have invested in model farms and seed orchards, we have established our planting protocols, and we have found excellent results from jatropha,” Abaya said.
President Abaya also added that PNOC-AFC is giving importance to an array of environmental concerns including that of biodiversity. “PNOC-AFC is very much concerned with the biodiversity and we want to be known and live on the legacy of an environment-friendly biodiesel-producing company, locally and globally,” ended Abaya.
PNOC-AFC assures the production of high quality biodiesel that meets United States, European and Philippine standards since it is eyeing not only the local but the international market as well. The biofuels corporation of PNOC is currently negotiating with a number of companies that they assess to possess the best technologies available in the market today.
Recently, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo stated that jatropha is a 100% substitute for diesel, it is very competitive in terms of cost compared to other feedstocks like coconut, palm, soya and rape seed. Lastly, jatropha has a special trait that allows the PNOC to enter into alternative feedstock for the petrochemical industry.