Toyo eyes P60-B biofuel project
600,000 hectares needed for coco fuel feedstock
By Amy R. Remo
Last updated 03:30am (Mla time) 09/05/2007
Japanese firm Toyo Engineering Corp. is about to complete a feasibility
study on an integrated coco methyl-ester (CME) manufacturing plant that
it plans to put up in the northern region of Ilocos, a Philippine
The venture, which will require at least P60 billion, will need around
600,000 hectares of coconut farms in new areas, said Carlos Carpio,
deputy administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority.
The new farmlands will use high-yielding coconut varieties, he said.
Carpio said Toyo Engineering was considering developing new areas where
coconut could be planted to supply the feedstock requirement of the CME
Toyo Engineering is considering areas in the provinces of Pangasinan,
Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and La Union, he said.
Another alternative is to use the wide coastal areas of these provinces,
Carpio said opening up new areas for coconut farms would require an
investment of about P1 million a hectare, while using coastal areas
would need only P100,000 per hectare.
The entire output of the plant will be shipped to Japan to supply the
country's growing demand for biofuels, both for fuel-dependent
industries and manufacturing concerns and also for its automotive
industry, which is now producing hybrid vehicles.
Japan's total diesel requirement reaches 40 billion liters a year, and
plans for a CME blend of five percent will create a huge demand for this
Japan is one of the four Asian countries planning to mandate the
blending of CME with petro-diesel to reduce dependence on crude mineral oil.
The Philippine coconut industry, which has yet to recover from
devastating effects of major typhoons late last year, recorded a decline
in output of 4.93 percent in the first half of 2007.
Coconut prices have bounced back from last year's slump and increased by
23.97 percent this year.
The increase in copra prices has triggered demand for matured coconut,
which in turn pushes up prices at the farm level.
Demand for Philippine agricultural lands has been surging with the
interest especially among Chinese companies.
Among the companies from China, Nanning Yong has firmed up negotiations
with three local companies for the construction of three separate
bioethanol plants worth a combined $105 million.
Documents from the Department of Agriculture show Nanning Yong is
pursuing partnerships with SB Integrated Biofuels Co., Negros Southern
Integrated Biofuels and One Cagayan Resource Development Inc.
Another company, Jilin Fuhua Agricultural Science and Technology
Development Co. Ltd., has started ground validation and seed testing on
farms for hybrid corn and sweet sorghum in Cagayan Valley, Isabela,
Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan.
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