MMSU to assist CBSUA in conducting biofuel-related studies

By Rheena Mangaoil, Intern


As a leader in sustainable bioenergy research and development, the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) and Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) in Pili, Camarines Sur agreed to pool in resources and expertise in levelling up bioethanol production. 

MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis and CBSUA President Alberto N. Naperi signed a memorandum of agreement for the Operationalization of the Bioenergy Research for Sustainable Development (OBioERSD) Program on July 17, formalizing the start of joint R&D initiatives on nipa-based production. 

MMSU committed to lend a 10-liter laboratory scale distiller to CBSUA, and to train its personnel on the protocols of bioethanol production, product development, distillation facility operation, maintenance, recalibration, and nipa propagation. 

For its part, CBSUA shall lead biofuel-related studies in Camarines Sur, in coordination with MMSU. It shall also secure necessary permit, documents, or license from the local government or private owners of the province’s nipa plantation and shall monitor the implementation of the project. Moreover, it is also set to send at least two of its engineering graduate students to enroll in the Professional Science Masters in Renewable Energy Engineering Program of MMSU.

MMSU is home to NBERIC whose vision is to become the country’s hub for bioenergy RDE programs, training and technopreneurship. Its decade-long research on bioethanol production for biofuel, which was later on redirected to producing Nipahol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, positioned the Center at the forefront of renewable energy research. (Nipahol is 70% ethyl alcohol formulated from the university’s 95% alcohol.) 

Dr. Agrupis believes “the partnership with CBSUA signifies the university’s aggressive research and extension efforts in creating impact among Filipinos.” This was seconded by NBERIC director Roque Ulep, committing the directorate to exhaust all its resources toward this goal. 

To date, MMSU has deployed a 150-liter distiller facility in Aparri, Cagayan and four units 850L and one unit 150-L reflux distiller in nipa communities in Pamplona in the same province; one unit 850L in Bugallon, Pangasinan; and 1 unit 150L each in Marinduque State University (MSU) and Central Luzon State University (CLSU). At MMSU, NBERIC maintains 2 units 150L and 1 unit 850L for continuous research and development activities and bulk production of bioethanol. 

The university now has seven partner SUCs namely, Aklan State University, Cagayan State University, Pangasinan State University, University of Antique and Western Philippines University, MSU and CLSU. Other partners include the Department of Energy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Rice Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, USAID-STRIDE, Ethanol Producers of the Philippines, Sugar Regulatory Administration, and local government units.

Bioethanol production is a major thrust in the Philippine energy sector. The production and consumption of bioethanol supports the government’s efforts in reducing dependence on imported fuels, protect public health and the environment, mitigate emission of greenhouse gases, and promote rural employment and income. (HLY/JVBT, StratCom)