The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is looking to expand research and development (R&D) through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) efforts into exploring the use of algae as a biofuel.
Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE said that the swift establishment of the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), will aid in the development of algae as a biofuel source as well as other renewable energy sources.
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.
A team composed of members from Ateneo University, Alson Aquacutlure Inc., and 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 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.
Dr. Catalino Blanche, a national program leader with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that the US is studying ways to develop algae as a biofuel, to displace the fuel needs of the country. It is estimated that algae can produce up to 1,200 -10,000 gallons per acre, according to a study of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL).
Angara noted that even big oil companies such as Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil have started to research the use of algae as fuel. Some airlines have also begun test flights consisting of biofuel blends.