Swine growers in GenSan, South Cot eye 3.5-MW biogas plant

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 April) – A group of swine producers and growers here and nearby South Cotabato province is planning to establish an offsite farm biogas plant that could later generate at least 3.5 megawatts (MW) of power for local agro-industrial facilities and communities.

Emilio Escobillo Jr., chair of the South Cotabato Swine Producers Association (Socospa), said they have started formal consultations with renewable energy experts to facilitate the development of the farm biogas plant in the city within the next two to three years.

“We’re looking at developing a common (biogas) facility that would serve several medium to large-scale swine farms,” he told MindaNews.

Socospa is composed of 24 medium- to large-scale swine producers and growers that are based in this city and within the 10 municipalities and lone city of South Cotabato.

Escobillo said the planned biogas plant would be established as a common facility and will process wastes from a number of local swine farms.

Based on initial results of their ongoing consultations, he said the biogas plant would include septage treatment facilities and other related structures and technologies that would facilitate the bulk conversion of accumulated farm wastes into energy.

He said they have yet to finalize the type of technology that would be utilized for the proposed biogas facility but noted that it would be based on successful foreign-developed modern biogas systems.

Escobillo said they would later introduce some innovations to the foreign-developed biogas technologies to make sure that they would complement the local environment and available resources.

He said they are initially considering several areas in Barangays Mabuhay and Conel in this city as possible sites for the projected “multimillion” biogas plant.

“Once completed, the project will mainly serve the power or electricity needs of local farms and later by nearby local communities,” he said.

At least four swine farms under the Socospa have already adopted the biogas technology, one of which was showcased during President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s visit to this city earlier this month.

The President inspected one of the P46-million biogas plants developed by the Philippine Bio-Sciences Inc. at the two swine production facilities of Bibiana Farms and Mills Inc. in Barangays Katangawan and Apopong, which were considered as the first farm-based alternative power generation facilities to be established in the area.

Escobillo said the two other biogas facilities are being developed at the production facility of Biotech Farms in Banga town and at the Matin-ao Livestock Farm in Tupi town in South Cotabato. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)