DOE reviews palm oil use in fuel mix

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) said it is still studying a proposal to use palm oil in biofuel mix and that it required the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) to submit additional data.

According to the FPI, the DOE has committed to elevate the matter to the National Biofuels Board (NBB), the body tasked to study and implement the biodiesel law.

Currently, the country’s biodiesel is a blend of diesel fuel and coco methyl ester (CME), a derivative of coconut oil.

FPI chairman Jesus Arranza said the possible use of palm oil for biodiesel production was proposed amid skyrocketing fuel prices.

He said the use of palm oil instead of coconut oil in the diesel mix would result in multiple benefits that can be felt by motorists, local industries and farmers.

For instance, Arranza said motorists will see lower diesel prices because palm oil is always cheaper by around $300 to $500 than coconut oil per ton in the world market.

The volume of coconut oil that will be released or freed from the diesel mix, meanwhile, can now be utilized for higher-value products, including virgin coconut oil, which has been proven to be effective against enveloped viruses like the COVID-19 and as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Diesel is the one being used in public transport and in the delivery of goods, so it affects the masses. The use of the cheaper palm oil therefore will serve as a permanent solution instead of the government having to periodically adjust excise taxes just to cushion the impact of higher crude prices. This is a solution where no sector will be hurt, even the government,” Arranza said.

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