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Basic pushes bioethanol project

Philippine, BASIC ENERGY CORP. IS SET TO begin a feasibility study for its planned cassava-based bioethanol plant, which will have a capacity of 100 million liters a year.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Basic Energy compliance officer Angel P. Gahol said the company’s board of directors has authorized management to sign a contract for the conduct of the study with two Thailand-based institutions.

Gahol said Basic Energy signed the contract on Thursday with Alternative Energy Institute of Thailand and Ethanol Thai Ltd., a research and technology institute.

“The service fees for providing the feasibility study is for a lump-sum amount of $60,000,” Gahol added.

To be put up on a 25- to 30-hectare site in Batangas, the company’s integrated bioethanol plant is estimated to have daily production capacity of 300,000 anhydrous bioethanol liters. It is scheduled to begin commercial operations by 2011.

The planned facility will make use of cassava chips as feedstock, which will be sourced from the company’s subsidiary, Basic Ecomarket Farms Inc.

Basic Ecomarket has an ongoing cassava plantation project that targets to produce dried cassava chips from around 20,000 hectares in the Zamboanga peninsula—and later on, in Bohol—under a combination of corporate-farming and contract-growing arrangements.

Parent firm Basic Energy has earlier infused in its subsidiary P31.12 million in additional equity investment to fund the cassava project.

Basic Ecomarket also signed last month a memorandum of agreement with India-based Trio-Chem Group of Companies, which has committed to invest as much as $500,000 in the cassava plantation project.

Trio-Chem is a technology and equipment supplier of clean environment and sustainable development projects and processes.

According to Gahol, the agreement would also establish a business relationship between the parties for the development of an integrated feedstock farm and bioethanol plant and related facilities in the Philippines.

Basic Energy also owns Zambo Norte BioEnergy Corp. (ZNBC), which is the company’s initial foray into alternative energy.

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