Biomass gasification power plant in Aurora, Philippines

The P150-million biomass gasification power plant in this northern part of the province will be operational by January next year.

The power plant, owned by a Filipino company, is seen to provide 24-hour rural electrification to around 250 households here.

The Eco Market Solutions (EMS), which has investments in agro-industrial processing and in information technology, is about to finish the power plant at an eight-hectare site in Barangay Dibaraybay here.

Gao Pronove, EMS president, said the power plant, which will have a maximum power-generating capacity of up to two megawatts, will provide scalable and green power on a 24-hour basis.

At present, residents of this town only get four hours of electricity a day at the most.

Pronove said they are using Indian technology in building the biomass plant which will utilize rice hull, coconut husks, “palapa” (coco fronds) and branches as fuel.

He said these agricultural wastes used to be disposed of by local rice and coconut farmers, not knowing they may be used to run the plant.

Rice hull production in the country is estimated at 45.2 million tons a year and is mostly generated in the major rice-producing regions such as Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Western Visayas.

Coconut residues, on the other hand, are abundant in Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and in Davao.

Pronove said EMS is now buying up to P500,000 worth of coconut residual wastes like coconut husks and fronds for the project.

“We will gasify the agricultural waste and turn it into gas,” he explained, adding the plant will produce nitrogen, hydrogen, methane gas, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

“Farmers will also earn additional income because the company will buy their waste materials amounting to P1 per kilo. We need eight tons of waste material per week to run the plant,” said Pronove, who is also the president of Inno Pharma Philippines.

Pronove said after the power-generating equipment has been installed they will have full-blast operation in January, explaining that the plant is just a pilot project with an initial capacity of 250 kilowatts.

When it becomes successful, he said, EMS will increase its capacity to an additional 750 kilowatts for a total of 1,000 kilowatts in the whole of Dinalungan and expand its coverage areas by adding 500 kilowatts each in the nearby towns of Casiguran and Dilasag which get electricity supply of only one hour a day.

He also said that EMS will seek the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission of a power service agreement between the firm and the Aurora Electric Cooperative (Aurelco) wherein excess power produced by the plant will be sold to Aurelco.

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