The Green Cycle
Lucio Tan Group’s Absolut Distillers Inc. (ADI) launched the third installment to its multi-million-investment project on renewable energy with the establishment of a new bioethanol facility in Lian, Batangas.
According to Gerardo Tee, ADI Chief Operating Officer and Overall-in-Charge of the Lucio Tan Group’s (LTGC) Distillery Operations, the bioethanol facility’s production volume is estimated at three million liters per month and 100,000 liters per day.
Two of the country’s major oil companies Sea Oil and Flying V were the early major off-takers of ADI’s bioethanol produce. “Even prior to the passage of the Biofuels Law of 2006, we already have a blue print of the project. We only waited for the right time. Finally, well-defined rules were integrated to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law, so we think now is the time to begin the operations of the facility,” Tee expounded.
Ethanol is used in the gasoline blend and comes from agricultural crops such as sugarcane. The Biofuels Act of 2006 mandated a 10-percent ethanol blend in gasoline. To be able to comply with the government’s E10 requirement for gasoline, companies at present are importing bulk of their requirements. However, the Department of Energy (DOE) has directed oil companies to acquire ethanol from local producers before resorting to importation. But the national output of 222 million liters still fell short of the 400 million liters annual demand.
“We see a great opportunity to provide fuel-grade ethanol with the opening of this facility. It also reflects our continuous commitment to green energy as we continue to provide a sustainable environment to the community,” Tee said.
The facility was inaugurated last October 20, 2015. The ceremony, which began with a mass, were attended by ADI and TDI officials, Department of Energy (DOE) representatives, and local government officials represented by Cong. Eileen Ermita-Buhain of the First District of Batangas and Mayor Isagani Bolompo of the town of Lian.
Lucio Tan Group’s Absolut Distillers Inc. (ADI) has started the operation of a 2.04 megawatts solar power plant project in Lian, Batangas during a ceremony attended by the company’s chairman Dr. Lucio Tan and Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.
“This 2.04 megawatts solar power generation facility is only the beginning. From here, we see even greater possibilities,” said Dr. Tan during his speech.
One of the country’s top investors, Dr. Tan emphasized his intent to further invest in renewable energy. “We are committed in pulling our resources to bring better alternatives to help in the government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and alleviate power outages. We do these to reduce our carbon footprint as we aim towards a green economy,” he added.
Gerardo Tee, ADI Chief Operating Officer and LTGC Overall-In-Charge for Distillery Operations, said the company’s aim is to sell the power generated by the plant to the grid via the Batangas Electric Cooperative power line for a fixed rate approved for solar power companies by the Energy Regulatory Commission under the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme.
Under the FIT scheme, Secretary Petilla said, companies may apply for a certificate of compliance, which would enable them to dispatch electricity to the grid at a fixed rate for 20 years.
Due to this, Petilla revealed, there is a race among companies to build renewable energy facilities to take this opportunity provided that they meet the government quota of 500-MW.
“Yung pong ibang kumpanya, wala pang project nag-aaply na, pero dito sa Absolut nakatayo na. Ito po talaga ang serious investor. (Other companies would apply for a certificate even without a project, but here at Absolut, the facility is already built. This is the serious investor,” he said.
ADI has been advocating sustainable energy since the 1990s and the solar power plant project is the Lucio Tan Group’s first venture of this magnitude in renewable green energy following the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Project of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations-sponsored program that aims to reduce emissions into the atmosphere of harmful gases like methane. The UN cites methane gas emissions as the primary cause of global warming. Today, the company is making greater strides as it invests in solar power and contributes even more to a worldwide clamor for a green economy.
The launch of the solar power plant highlights the celebration of ADI’s 25th year in the industry. “This year, we are giving the local potable alcohol industry its first solar power generation facility,” Lucio Tan, Jr. revealed.
The facility is composed of 8, 160 panels and occupies about 27,000 square meters within an industrial area, where the 17-hectare ADI plant in Barangay Malaruhatan, Lian, Batangas is located. Some 150 technical staff and construction personnel were hired to finish the project within two months since its groundbreaking in 19th of January this year.
“We have been successful in ensuring that every step of the process in our distillery complies with industry standards of sustainable development,” the younger Tan further related, adding that, “By venturing into solar power, we are strengthening our commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change on a more meaningful scale.”
Absolut Distillers, Inc. sealed a partnership with Aseagas Corporation in a venture to convert distillery organic effluent into an alternative fuel called liquid biomethane. This technology that Aseagas has developed can convert the distillery effluent into a purer form of methane. The output can provide a clean and easily controlled source of energy to displace the use of fossil fuel, hence making it sustainable and carbon neutral.
With the issue of global warming and climate change getting hotter so as the talks of how to help mitigate the effects of these phenomena.
ADI have these on perspective and being a manufacturing company that has focused its mind on sustainable development and environmental protection, it has come to think of a way in addressing its carbon footprint. In 2006, ADI has registered its Anaerobic Digester Project to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Project of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol --- a UN sponsored program that aims to reduce the emissions into the atmosphere of harmful gases like methane which traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide --- in cooperation with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.
This is the first and largest CDM Project in the private and manufacturing industry in the Philippines.
By implementing this project, large amount of methane gas has been recovered and is used to fire-up the steam boilers displacing fossil fuel consumption by 40%, hence lowering the fossil fuel consumption and the methane emission in the atmosphere.
The project was inaugurated last August 14, 2009.
Many, if not most vegetables, will grow on plain water alone but we cannot expect them to grow healthy and reach the expected results. Most likely, these will grow stunted and may eventually die prematurely. Therefore, we take good care of our vegetables by giving them their food – organic food.
In Orga-Ponics operation, our main fertilizer is our distillery effluent – the slop. Distillery slops is a by-product of alcohol production from molasses. It contains considerable amount of organic material, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other minerals that make it a good candidate for fertilizer material. Land or soil preparation is completely eliminated. The dissolved nutrients mixed into the water medium are evenly and readily available to the plants. This is like one having dextrose water thru intravenous feeding where the effect is faster than when medicines are taken orally.
With the utilization of coal-fired steam boilers in its plant operation, ADI soon faced a new challenge in its waste management --- the disposal of coal ash. Coal ash contains toxic elements and unsafe coal ash dumping pose hazards and threats in public health and in the environment.
Awareness is a powerful tool and with ADI equipped with this tool put the company into a vantage point. The company initiated a project which addressed the challenge, the production of concrete hollow blocks from the mixture of cement, sand, fly ash, and coal ash. With the disposal of coal and fly ash solved, the company has also made readily available stocks of concrete hollow blocks for its own use. This development came just right in time because the manufactured concrete hollow blocks were used in ADI’s plant expansion, from buildings to bund walls to perimeter fences, and for other civil works plant improvement projects. Prior to utilization, the concrete hollow blocks had passed the laboratory test, e.g. load test, for concrete masonry unit performed by a reputable materials testing company.
This treatment process is also known as horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands aims at polishing and further reducing the color of the treated effluent. This system was adopted by GTZ.
Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) system is suitable to further treat the lagoon effluent and reduce its organic load. This process is essentially an activated sludge system.