The production of biofuels to reduce the use of oil and natural gas is in active development. Biofuels are seen as a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by using them to replace non-renewable sources of energy.
By popular definition, biofuel is any fuel that is derived from organic matter. It is a renewable source of energy unlike other resources such as petroleum, coal and nuclear fuels. One advantage of biofuel in comparison to most other fuel types is its biodegradability, and thus rendering it relatively harmless to the environment if spilled.
Agricultural products specifically grown for use as biofuels include corn and soybeans, primarily in the United States; as well as flaxseed and rapeseed, primarily in Europe; sugarcane in Brazil.
Biodegradable outputs from industry, agriculture, forestry, and households can also be used to produce bioenergy; examples include straw, timber, manure, sewage, biodegradable waste and food leftovers. A number of researches are currently in progress regarding the use of microalgae as an energy source, with applications being developed for biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, methane, and even hydrogen. On the rise is the use of jatropha as source of biofuel.
The need to address the issues and concerns surrounding the use of biofuels in developing countries, particularly the Philippines, prompted the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NCRP) to take bold steps that would include all the major biofuel stakeholders. Thus, the Symposium on Biofuels was conceived with the active involvement of the representatives from various countries who are members of the Association of Academies of Sciences in Asia (AASA).
The Department of Energy (DOE), together with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) and the Philippine council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), two sectoral planning councils of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST have also joined this important and timely undertaking. The NAST focal person is Acd. Filemon A. Uriarte Jr. while Dr. Alvin B. Culaba is the NRCP focal person.
The overarching goal of the symposium is to review the issues and draft the framework on the use of biofuels in the Philippines and a roadmap indicating doable action plans.
The Symposium features papers on Bio-diesel and Bio-ethanol and an impressive line up of international and local expert discussants from the Department of Agriculture, DOE, oil companies, car manufacturers, transport groups, technology providers, financial institutions, and other major players.
Acd. Ceferino L. Follosco, Chair of the NAST-Engineering Sciences and Technology Division and DOST Undersecretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, who is also NRCP presdient, serve as advisers.