By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) July 08, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – PNOC-Alternative Fuels Corp., the biofuels development arm of state-owned Philippine National Oil Co., is planning to put up its own jatropha processing plant, a top company official said.

PNOC-AFC general manager Clovis Tupas said the project will entail a cost of not more than P10 million.

He said the company is looking at putting up a 5,000-liter jatropha processing plant in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. PNOC-AFC maintains a 500-hectare jatropha nursery plantation in the military camp.

“Target operation is next year when feedstock becomes available,” Tupas said.

The company said it prefers to grow jatropha curcas or “tuba-tuba” as this is believed to be the most productive and economical feedstock.

“PNOC-AFC will put up a processing plant on its own. This is in addition to the pre-commercial facility in DOST. No partners, no joint ventures,” he said.

Earlier, PNOC-AFC and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the jatropha biodiesel processing facilities located at the DOST compound in Bicutan, Taguig.

The company official said they are still in the pilot

stage of the biodiesel project but will showcase the viability of jatropha as blend to diesel.

PNOC-AFC is mandated to take the lead in spearheading the growth of biofuels industry in the country under the Biofuels Act.

Specifically, PNOC-AFC is tasked to explore, develop and accelerate the utilization and commercialization of alternative fuels in the country.