Press Release
April 4, 2011


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is supporting the expansion of research and development (R&D) into the use of algae as a biofuel.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE, said that more countries are developing the use of algae as a biofuel and that the Philippines should continue to support research in this and other Renewable Energy (RE) sources.

He noted that the US Airforce recently tested the F 22 Raptor, the most modern weapons system in the Airforce, flying on a 50/50 blend of biofuel. Continental Airlines has also been testing biofuel on a Boeing 737-800 passenger plane.

New reports from the United Arab Emirates indicate that algae use is now scalable and can become cheaper to produce than oil.

Angara said that COMSTE partners from Alson's Aquaculture and the Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC) have been collaborating as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to study the use of algae as a biofuel.

COMSTE reports that initial experiments in the country demonstrate that the use of algae as a biofuel has high potential, and it can also be used as a carbon capture mechanism when coupled with coal-fired plants.

The team from the AIC and Alsons, plus two other photo bio-reactor companies aims to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae and the cleaning of coal fired plants by placing nearby aquaculture ponds.

The Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research in Wales reports that the algae biofuel industry had an estimated value of $700 million in 2004, and is continuing to grow.

The US- based National Renewable Energy Laboratory is currently studying the most viable strains of algae that they can use as a renewable energy source to produce diesel, gasoline and even jet fuel.

Dr. Catalino Blanche, a national program leader with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that the US is studying ways to develop algae as a biofuel, to displace the fuel needs of the country. It is estimated that algae can produce up to 1,200 -10,000 gallons per acre, according to a study of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL).

According to Angara, Mexico is developing a program that can potentially replace fossil fuels with biofuel blends. The project aims to produce 1% of the nation's jet fuel from algae in less than five years.

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