Effective today, June 30, the Philippine Coconut Authority will conduct on-road tests on the viability of using 5% biodiesel blend of fuel for public transport vehicles.
With the approval of the National Biofuels Board to increase the mandated biodisel blend from 2% to 5%, the PCA, with the assistance of the Department of Energy, will make use of seven jeepneys that belong to transport groups and are in good running condition \"with a relatively new set of tires and with good braking performance.\" To make sure, the test jeepneys will undergo a thorough inspection at the North Motor Vehicle Inspection Center of the Land Transportation Office \"for assessment of roadworthiness and compliance to emission standards.\"
The on-road tests will last for 25 days. For the first five days, the test jeepneys will run on the existing 2% biodiesel blend. On the succeeding 20 days, the jeepneys will be fueled with the 5% biodiesel blend. After the 25-day on-road testing, the jeepneys will be tested for their fuel economy and power efficiency. Opacity tests will also be conducted on the jeepneys to compare the emission performance of the 2% and 5% biodiesel fuel blends.
According to PCA administrator Euclides Forbes, the mandated use of biofuels would strengthen the domestic market for coconut, creating a P19.6-billion income since a 5% biodiesel blend means greater demand for coconut oil. In addition, the country would also save as much as P15.5 billion on fuel displacement.
More than just the economic benefits, however, Forbes also pointed out the environmental benefits of the 5% biodiesel blend. Besides a 50% reduction in smoke emissions, the visible cloud of black smoke from the exhaust, which consists of carbon and sulfur particulates, is reduced by as much as 80%.
Coconut-derived biodiesel also reportedly has a neutral carbon footprint. Once planted, coconut trees absorb carbon dioxide during its growing stage. Every liter of fossil diesel displaced by 5% biodiesel represents a carbon-dioxide reduction of 3.5kg/L of fuel used.