Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Victorias Milling biomass power plant to be completed this year

Posted on January 25, 2017

VICTORIAS CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL -- Victorias Milling Co., Inc. expects to complete this year a P2-billion cogeneration biomass power plant with a 40-megawatt (MW) capacity, which will be partly used by its sugar mills.
Should the project qualify under the FIT scheme, the power plant will get priority dispatch in the spot market with a fixed price of power at P6.63 per kilowatt hour for at least 20 years.

VMC also bared plans to begin the second phase of its biomass power plant with equal capacity, but reducing the power that will be exported to the grid to only 20 MW.

“[P]art of the power from phase 2 will electrify the turbines to convert them to use electric power. So steam from the sugar mill will be concentrated on the power plant to maximize power that we will use to run the mill,” Mr. Concepcion added.

The official noted that other sugar millers planning to build their own biomass power plants in the region are talking to VMC for a supply agreement for bagasse. However, he said this may not be a viable.

“The set-up could be somehow difficult since gathering sugar cane trash in the field is challenging... It will be difficult during the rainy season especially in bringing in needed equipment,” Mr. Concepcion said, mentioning that the Zabaleta group is one of those interested in putting up such a biomass plant in the region.

To recall, the Zabaleta-led Bronzeoak Philippines, Inc. announced the International Finance Corp. (IFC) already approved a funding of up to $141 million for three biomass plants namely in San Carlos, South Negros and North Negros.

Mr. Concepcion also said that they already signed an agreement with the local arm of China-based Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering Co., Ltd. to supply the boiler for its biomass projects.

At the same time, VMC will also upgrade its distillery to be able to produce bioethanol, aside from potable alcohol. This, on the back of huge local demand for bioethanol.

“Under the law, bioethanol needs to be sourced from local produce so the demand and the price is high compared to potable alcohol that could be imported,” VMC Chief Manufacturing Officer Linley A. Retirado said during Monday’s briefing.

The official was referring to the Biofuels Act of 2006 which mandated a 10% bioethanol blend in gasoline, a requirement that industry players still find difficult to fulfill due to a deficiency in local production for bioethanol.

As such, the government still enforces 2% bioethanol blend due to supply issues.

In 2015, local bioethanol output reached 168 million liters or 28.72% of the total consumption which reached 479 million liters, while the deficiency was filled by imports, according to the annual Global Agricultural Report Network of the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. Moreover, Mr. Concepcion said the installation of a dehydrator, the machine needed to convert potable alcohol to bioethanol may cost between P50 million and P80 million and boost the millers’ current capacity to produce potable alcohol to 50,000 liters from 30,000 liters a day.

This translates to a projected annual production of bioethanol to reach up to 8.3 million liters.

VMC will be using molasses as its feedstock, which is also a by-product of sugar cane milling.

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