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Biomass gasifier to burn farm waste

The first biomass gasifier plant has opened in the Philippines in Dinalungan, Aurora.

The region currently relies on diesel generators for power but now Northern Aurora will be able to be powered on green and affordable energy, thanks to the new plant.

The facility is owned and operated by Eco Market Solutions (EMS) which will provide electricity to rural areas by converting biomass briquettes to energy in the gasifier.

The gasification process works by using heat in an oxygen-starved environment to release combustible gases such as CO, CO₂, H₂ and methane. The gas produced from this is then cooled and cleaned and put into a rotary engine to produce power.

Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport’s (APECO) CEO Robbie Mathay says: ‘This system is widely used in India and has been instrumental in rural development around the world.’

The system currently uses dried wood branches, coconut fronds and coconut shells to produce the briquettes. However, from May the biomass briquetting system will also be able to convert rice straw, rice, coconut husks, corn cobs and dried grasses into briquettes, boosting more farmers’ incomes.

EMS currently buys processed and unprocessed biomass from farmers from between P0.50 (€00.9)-P2.50 per kilo, depending on the biomass. The current capacity of the power plant is about 8 tonnes of biomass a day.

The company also has plans to build a bigger biomass gasification power plant in Casiguran, also in the Philippines, which will produce 1MW of power, as well as a smaller plant in Dilasag, Philippines.

‘We are excited to have built this plant despite the two typhoons that hit the area last year,’ says Mathay. ‘This is proof that biomass power is an appropriate renewable technology for the Philippines and offers great promise not only for energy development but for boosting agriculture in the country.’