Alternative fuels, as opposed to fossil fuels, could define the future of the transport sector as the current administration is directed at achieving cleaner environment.
The Department of Energy intends to “enhance energy supply security in the transport sector through fuel diversification using indigenous natural gas and to use natural gas as a clean alternative fuel for transport”.
DOE’s specific objective is to “evaluate the commercial viability, technical requirements, market demand, impact of incentives and public acceptance” of the Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Program.
Fayette Riñen, Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-7 officer-in-charge, on Tuesday explained that they are conducting an advocacy campaign on the government’s NGV Program for Public Transport, with the Department of Energy as the lead agency.
She said rounds of information education campaign (IEC) have also been conducted now in other regions throughout the country by the DOE and for Central Visayas, Bohol is the selected province.
“The direction of the current administration now is to use cleaner, alternative energy fuels like the auto LPG, natural gas and e-vehicles for the transport sector,” according to Riñen.
DOE sent here three senior science research specialists to present the government’s Alternative Fuels Program to the associations of public utility operators and drivers, local government units, academe, and the media during a forum on Tuesday at Kew Hotel in Tagbilaran City.
The DOE experts also discussed the Alternative Fuels Vehicle and Technology, the Auto-LPG Program, and the Electronic Vehicles Program for market transformation.
“Apart from letting [the people] be informed and be aware of this significant program”, Riñen said they are also tasked to let the people understand that the government is “working towards clean energy to mitigate the impact of climate change”.
She said they are seeking partnership with concerned sectors “in multiplying the information dissemination efforts here in Bohol”.
She emphasized on the significance of having well-informed people to establish partnership in undertaking government programs such as the Alternative Fuels Program.
“As we aspire to be a truly progressive nation, we must remember that we cannot achieve true development if we do not empower the people. And, empowerment starts with providing timely, accurate and relevant information. A well-informed Fiilipino is an empowered Filipino,” according to Riñen.
Christie Bauzon, senior science research specialist of DOE, explained that the challenges confronting the energy sector include increasing energy demand, high and volatile petroleum prices, and deteriorating air quality.
“NGVs are a popular transportation choice because they run cleaner than other vehicles. Compared to gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles, they produce much lower levels of pollutants and cost less to maintain. Also, natural gas costs, in general (on average), one-third less than conventional gasoline at the pump. The tanks used to store natural gas can withstand crashes and heat far better than most gasoline tanks can. In the event of a crash, natural gas disperses into the air, whereas gasoline pools on the ground, creating a fire hazard,” Bauzon explained.
Natural gas, as a transport fuel, is clean since it involves less emissions being a green fuel that is naturally produced and environment-friendly and contains no lead that harms humans and ecological balance.
Bauzon also said natural gas, being cheap can mean “more savings than fueling with gasoline or diesel”.
She said it is also safe and, in fact is “widely used in the US, Argentina, India, Korea, Malaysia, and other countries; safe to use.
“Safety considerations and systems ensure worry-free conditions for drivers, passengers and refueling station operators,” according to Bauzon.
Engr. Loreto Mancada, also a senior science research specialist of DOE, presented the alternative transport fuels and technologies roadmap for the The AutoLPG Program wherein it is projected that within 2017-2019, the DOE shall start with the identification of alternative fuels and technologies (AFTs) for application.
In 2020-2025, DOE will then embark on the preparation of the regulatory and infrastructure requirements of the identified AFTs.
In 2026-2030, DOE targets that AF vehicles will already be mainstreamed in the transport sector.
The program is intended to “diversify the country’s fuel resources, particularly in the transport sector, through the use of LPG as an alternative fuel source while contributing to addressing the air pollution caused by vehicular emission; and to encourage partnership between public and private sectors to develop the market and supply infrastructure”.
Engr. Jorge Vincent Bitoon, also senior science research specialist of DOE, said the Alternative Fuels Program is designed “to achieve energy security and fuel diversification while meeting environmental challenges through the utilization of alternative fuels”.
He added that DOE is getting a chunk from the power from the Malampaya Project for the research on the compressed natural gas (CNG), since the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power project has been primarily intended to supply power to power plants- -three at present.
At present, there are around 8,000 electric vehicles (EVs) demonstrated nationwide: Davao City, Makati City, Boracay, Taguig City, Cavite, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and Mandaluyong City under the Electric Vehicles Program.
An e-trike costs P200,000-P490,000; while an e-jeep costs P700,000 to P1 million; an e-bus, P8-10 million for E-Bus; and an e-bike, P10,000–P20,000.
The environmental benefits of EVs include the absence of tail pipe emission; and having less noise and vibration which enhances comfort.
It is also beneficial technology-wise as it has few moving parts and that its charging can be done overnight when electricity demand is low, according to Bitoon.