Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said he is very happy with the breakthrough in the production of fuel ethanol in Negros Occidental from sweet sorghum and added that will be a boost to small farmers, especially agrarian reform beneficiaries.
The breakthrough has been described as a “first” in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The San Carlos Bionergy Inc. produced fuel ethanol early Sunday morning from sweet sorghum juice produced by the OPTIONS (Organic Producers in the Island of Negros) mill in Sagay City, the governor said.
Marañon said sweet sorghum was test-planted on 50 hectares in Sagay City with the help of Prof. Rex Demafiles, University of the Philippines Los Baños Alternative Energy Research, Development and Extension covenor and chairman of the UPLB Energy Systems Committee.
Demafiles said 15,231 liters of fuel ethanol was produced from sweet sorghum, which belongs to the family of corn. Its grains are used for animal feeds and it's stalks are used to produce sweet sorghum juice for the production of fuel ethanol, he said.
The juice yield from sweet sorghum stalks is higher than that of molasses, making its profit margins promising, he added.
Marañon said small mills, like OPTIONS, are ideal for the production of sorghum juice.
And farmers can make a profit from planting sweet sorghum even on small farms, as one can harvest from it three times a year, he added.
Department of Energy Renewable Energy Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan yesterday congratulated those responsible for the production of fuel ethanol from sweet sorghum in Negros.
"This could be the breakthrough that we have been waiting for to enhance our biofuels initiatives," he said.
He said the breakthrough came at a most opportune time for the National Biofuels Program.*CPG