The Philippines’ first biomethane fuel plant—a $50 million facility that turns wastes into transportation fuel—is expected to begin operations by the end of 2015, with construction ready to start in more than three months.
In a briefing held on Wednesday in Makati city, officials of Aseagas Corp., an Aboitiz Group company, said it has broken ground for its biomethane fuel plant project located in Batangas, south of Manila. It is the first such plant to be built in the country and the largest in Asia, with a 9,000 metric tons annual capacity.
The newest clean energy unit of the listed conglomerate, Aboitiz Group, Aseagas is a joint venture formed in 2012 by Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Gazasia, Ltd., a UK-based alternative fuel company.
Aseagas president and chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz explained the plant will produce liquid bio-methane fuel derived from organic waste, which will later be sold to commercial vehicle fleets and public transport running on gas engines.
“This is a very exciting project for us. It is clean . . . it has a potential for bringing down the landfill mass by up to 80 percent,” Aboitiz told reporters.
Aseagas currently sources its organic waste requirement from Absolut Distillers Inc., a subsidiary of Tanduay Holdings Inc., through an Effluent Waste Supply Agreement signed in September.
The company then closed the purchase of a property in the municipality of Lian, Batangas, a few months after the agreement was signed and is now currently converting its land use classification in preparation for construction of the plant.
The company is considering a plan to build four more major plants of the same kind within the next five years, with an average investment cost of $50 million each facility.
“Our rollout strategy, really, is build five plants in the next five years,” Aseagas chief operating officer Juan Alfonso said, specifying that it could still depend on the take-up of the first biogas facility to be built.
The Department of Energy awarded Aseagas its Renewable Energy Service or Operating Contract for the Batangas plant in February, granting incentives to the project based on the country’s Renewable Energy Law.
Given the huge amount needed for its power investments, capital spending by the whole Aboitiz Group for this year could reach nearly P90 billion. Specifically, P78 billion of the exact P88-billion capital requirement of the group will go to power projects.