Pineapple waste will be used to produce clean energy

GERMAN tank builder Lipp GmbH has tied up with a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) to build two industrial-scale biogas plants in Mindanao that will use farm waste to produce clean energy.

In a press release on Wednesday, the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the German tank construction specialist is collaborating with MPIC’s wholly owned unit MetPower Venture Partners Holdings, Inc. for the two plants.

The biogas plants, which will process pineapple waste from a local canned goods firm to generate power, are seen to replace energy from fossil fuel.

“Lipp GmbH, in partnership with MetPower Venture Partners, is building the first industrial-scale biogas plants in Mindanao to process Dole Philippines’ pineapple waste and convert it into biogas. Once fully operational, the two plants will generate clean energy to replace fossil fuel for power, steam and heat generation,” the German business chamber said.

It cited the agricultural country’s potential in processing biowaste into biogas, adding that the technology is not yet widespread in the Philippines.

On its website, MetPower said that it was undertaking a P1-billion waste-to-energy (WTE) project with Dole Philippines. The project aims to extract biogas from the fruit waste of Dole Philippines canneries in South Cotabato.

The project is seen to provide 5.7 megawatts (MW) of clean energy for Dole, and contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 tons yearly. The target completion date of the facilities is in the first half of this year, the MPIC unit said on its website.

In May, the WTE project received the first tranche of subsidy, which is up to 50% of its qualified capital cost from the Japanese government.

On Tuesday, the German business chamber, Lipp GmbH and the German Biogas Association held a comprehensive training series on the use and maintenance of biogas systems as part of the German government’s initiative in adding biogas to the Philippine renewable energy mix.

“We see strong potential for biogas production in the Philippines,” said Manuel Lipp, managing director of Lipp GmbH, in a statement.

“To support our technology on the ground, we need to train the employees so they can safely operate and maintain the plants in the future,” he added.

Employees of Dole Philippines, participants from the Department of Science and Technology, and members of the academe attended the training program.

Martin Henkelmann, executive director of the German-Philippine business chamber, said his group “is proud to be part of this project to bring German biogas technology and experience to the Philippines.” — Angelica Y. Yang