Valuable biomass in the Philippines

We refer to the energy definition of biomass. Generally speaking, biomass from three main sources can be considered for a sustainable energy project:

  • Fruit, vegetable and plant residues and wastes, mainly from agriculture, forestry, and bamboo industries
  • Animal wastes, excrements
  • Biological waste of other kinds, e.g. household waste

The Philippines have large biomass resources, mainly due to the natural climatic conditions and the extensive agriculture throughout the country. 47% of the Philippine land mass (30 million hectares) is used for agriculture. The area in total accounts to around 13 million hectares.

The ENP energy project collects and uses mainly the following types of biomass:

  • Wood and bamboo wastes from forestry and bamboo industry
  • Coconut shells and overaged coconut palm trees from the coconut industry
  • Rice husks remaining after drying of rice
  • Bagasse, i.e. non-usable residues of sugar cane plants


Untouched potentials

The EC-ASEAN COGEN program estimates the volume of available biomass from the rice, coconut, palm oil, sugarcane and timber industries alone in the Philippines at 16 million tons - per year. Biological waste and bamboo, for example, are not even considered here. A large part of this existing and continuously accumulating biomass is not or only marginally economically exploited. Only as fuel for cooking, biomass is often used in the rural provinces.

One of the biggest advantages of biomass is its low cost. In the Philippines - still largely an agricultural country - biomass resources are a cheap raw material for electricity generation. In addition, electricity can be produced from biomass at much lower costs, since required investment volumes are significantly smaller compared to geothermal or hydropower.