Press Release
May 3, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of 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 and to provide a cheaper alternative for pharmaceutical drug manufacturing.

Angara 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 also noted that there are studies that are focusing on using certain strains of algae for pharmaceutical use.

Researchers from the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology at the University of California at San Diego are focusing on the versatility of algae to become a cheaper alternative to conventional pharmaceutical sources.

Angara said that COMSTE is conducting studies into the use of algae as a biofuel with industry partners, and planning to propose the development of a National Project in Algae, which could focus government and private sector efforts in R&D of algae use.

He mentioned that the United States has introduced legislation that would include the use of algae as a biofuel to help fight climate change and to wean off fossil fuels.

He added that the government should invest in the versatility of algae and jumpstart the industry in the country and fully utilize its commercial use, whether as a biofuel, drug manufacturing, and a source of food and even for pollution control.

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.

Angara noted that the developments in algal research present new opportunities for the country to partner with countries like the US that are serious in research.

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