28 September 2007

Toyo Engineering studies biodiesel from coconut oil

Japanese firm Toyo Engineering is poised to complete a feasibility study on an integrated coco methyl-ester (CME). Coconut oil derived from copra can be used in the production of biodiesel. According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) the company plans to set up a manufacturing plant in the Philippines’ northern region of Ilocos.

Under Toyo Engineering’s plan, the entire output of the CME plant will be shipped to Japan to supply the country’s growing demand for biofuels in the fuel-dependent industries and the transport sector. Plans for a CME blend of 5% will create a demand in Japan’s total diesel requirement of 40 billion litres a year.

The project will require an investment of around 60 billion pesos (€946 million), and plans for the establishment of approximately 600,000 hectares of coconut farms in new areas. The new farmlands will use high-yielding coconut varieties. At an average yield of 3.000 litres of oil and 15 tonnes of residual biomass, one hectare of high yield coconut trees produces around 305 GJ of energy.

The Philippine coconut industry saw a decline in output of nearly 5% in the first half of 2007. It is still recovering from major typhoons that hit the islands last year, but coconut prices have improved since last year’s low, increasing by 24% this year.

Chinese companies looking for biofuel production overseas have been attracted to Philippine agricultural land. Nanning Yong has negotiations with three local companies for the construction of three separate bioethanol plants worth a combined $105 million (€76 million).

(Cf. news of 2006-04-27.)

Source: Biofuels International Magazine, 2007-09-19.

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