Use US Navy oil tank, pipeline in Subic to store ethanol
Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged the government to utilize the petroleum oil tank farm and pipeline located inside the Subic Bay Freeport to jumpstart the use of ethanol as renewable source of energy.
According to Gordon, the founding administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the freeport has over 68 petroleum tanks that can hold 2.4 million barrels of oil. The tanks, whose capacity can supply the country’s oil requirements for 30 days, were used by the US navy fleet when it still had a station in Subic.
"We need to bring in ethanol and promote its use as alternative fuel in our country which we have the capacity to produce locally from indigenous agricultural crops such as sugar cane, cassava, and corn under a sustainable system," Gordon said.
Aside from being environment-friendly, ethanol will "lessen our dependence on imported crude oil and will buffer us from the rising oil prices in the world market, as well as encourage the creation of ethanol-related industries," Gordon added.
Gordon cited studies showing that up to 10 percent ethanol may be added to commercial fuel without requiring engine modification for practically all motor vehicles on the streets today. Petroleum company Seaoil has already started blending ethanol with the fuel it sells to the public, it was reported.
Ethanol-powered engines have also been developed by car manufacturers like Ford Motor Co. Philippines with its Ford Focus vehicle.
"Because ethanol is cleaner and cheaper, ethanol-powered cars can be highly attractive to consumers in the local market as well. Local car manufacturers may very well venture into such manufacturing activity and supply the local market and the growing global market with ethanol-powered cars," Gordon said.
Likewise, Gordon proposed to reduce excise tax for ethanol-powered cars, as well as the grant of other incentives to attract investors and create employment in ethanol-related industries.
Ethanol is an ideal fuel blend or additive for gasoline which is environment-friendly.
The country’s National Bio-ethanol Program has prescribed the use of "5% blend of ethanol in gasoline from year 2007 to 2010 and 10% blend from 2010 to 2017, a total of 3.7 billion liters of gasoline will be displaced by an equal volume of ethanol over a 10-year period."
The figures would translate to a total savings in foreign exchange of US$825 millions over 10 years or US$82 million per year, according to the senator.
Aside from cutting the country’s dependence on imported oil, ethanol may also be a potential export product for the Philippines, just like Brazil which pioneered ethanol fuel in the 1970s to combat rising energy costs but now exports to Japan and other countries.
The Manila Bulletin