Tree for alternative fuel found in Cordillera
- Artemio Dumlao () - August 23, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - An indigenous tree, the petroleum nut, abundant in the highland Cordilleras was found as an alternative fuel source.

Pine Tree, a non-government organization (NGO) in Benguet, is paving the way for the mass propagation of the petroleum nut whose fruit is a good source of biofuel.

Petroleum nut grows abundantly in Benguet and the borders of Mountain Province, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya area. The tree is called apisang or abkel in Benguet; dael or dingo in Mountain Province and sagaga in Abra.

Dr. Michael Bengwayan, director of Pine Tree, said about 30,000 petroleum nut seedlings have been produced and are ready for distribution.

Pine Tree initiated the mass propagation of the petroleum nut to benefit farmers and help address the global problem on climate change through the production of alternative fuel resources.

The fruit of the petroleum nut, Bengwayan said, has an octane rating of 54, which is higher than that of India’s jatropha.

The oil produced by the petroleum nut fruits is intended for lighting and cooking purposes. When mixed with kerosene on a 3:1 ratio, 20 centiliters of the petroleum nut oil could burn for up to four hours.

A study by the Forest Research Institute of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) claimed petroleum nut oil contains 46 percent of gasoline-type components such as heptane (45 percent) and dihydroterpene.

Bengwayan said one petroleum nut tree could yield 15 kilograms of fruits, which could produce up to 80 cubic centiliters of oil.

Bengwayan said 23 farmers from Kapangan and Kibungan have been trained to propagate the tree.

Pine Tree now maintains a nursery at Longlong, La Trinidad where petroleum nut seedlings were first mass propagated after years of research.

Bengwayan though urges farmers to also learn to store the petroleum nut seeds because it is endemic only to some areas in the country.

“Seed banking is important so that the indigenous peoples in the region could protect the plant from biopiracy,” said Bengwayan.

The petroleum nut is on the list of protected species of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

BENGUET BENGWAYAN DR. MICHAEL BENGWAYAN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA FOREST RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES IFUGAO AND NUEVA VIZCAYA MOUNTAIN PROVINCE NUT PETROLEUM PINE TREE TREE
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