DOE mandates higher biodiesel blend starting October 2024

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued new guidelines to adopt a higher biofuels blend, based on the recommendations of the National Biofuels Board (NBB), aimed at reducing dependence on imported fuels, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting the local biodiesel and bioethanol sectors.

Starting October 1, 2024, all diesel fuel sold nationwide must include a 3% coco methyl ester (CME) blend, as per Department Circular No. 2024-05-0014.

This requirement will increase to 4% by October 1, 2025, and to 5% by October 1, 2026.

The increase in CME blend is expected to boost the coconut industry, creating additional markets for coconut farmers and biodiesel producers. It will require approximately 900 million more nuts to produce the 100-120 million liters of CME needed for each 1% increase in the blend.

An on-road test over 30,000 kilometers with a 5% CME blend showed a 10% increase in mileage, translating to net savings of around PhP4.17 per liter of diesel.

Additionally, the guidelines offer downstream oil industry participants the option to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10% to 20%.

This change could reduce gasoline pump prices by an estimated PhP3.21 per liter.

“Implementing the higher biofuels blend is a win-win solution as we promote economic growth, uphold environmental stewardship, and strive for cleaner energy utilization. It is also about investing in a future where sustainability drives progress,” said Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla.

To ensure a smooth transition, the oil industry must maintain adequate storage capacity, blending facilities, transport systems, and dedicated storage tanks and dispensing pumps.

The Biofuels Act of 2006 mandates that all motor and engine fuels sold in the Philippines be blended with biofuels.

The current ethanol blend for gasoline has remained at 10% since 2012, while the CME blend was last increased to 2% in 2007.

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