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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                 3  August  2011

Biomass research center for Philippines

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UK-based Global Biomass Plc. will put up the world's first biomass research, development and manufacturing center in Mina, Iloilo.

David de Montaigne, Global Biomass Group chief executive officer, said they will commence construction of the 5,000 square meter facility on August 7.

The $4-million facility will be known as the Global Biomass Plc. Corp. Research Development and Manufacturing facility.

The facility will conduct research, develop, design and manufacture equipment and other technology to support the harvesting, collection, transportation, storage and processing of agricultural wastes.

"All of this equipment is being designed to help farmers efficiently gather and transport biomass wastes such as rice and corn straw, coconut, banana, pineapple and other biomass residues that [GBC] will purchase from farmers and consolidators to use as an alternative fuel that will displace imported fossil fuels," de Montaigne said.

Global Biomass is a UK-based renewable energy firm planning to put up 420 megawatts of power capacity in the Philippines from a dozen proposed biomass plants at a cost of about $1 billion over an eight-year period.

Global Biomass has a 40 percent stake in GBC.

The biomass plants will use farm refuse, which will be bought from farmers, to generate clean and renewable electricity. They will serve as base-load plants that can run round-the-clock.

Farmers either burn these agricultural wastes, releasing carbon dioxide, or leave them to rot producing methane. Both carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

"The collection and purchase of these abundant wastes will provide substantial income to the farming community that will help alleviate poverty in rural areas whilst not competing with organic farming as there are vast amounts in excess of these requirements," de Montaigne said.


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