Monday, November 15, 2010

Malunggay's Moringa Oil Seen as Biofuel Source


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As the Philippines seeks better ways to use its resources in combating climate change, a new discovery by a Filipino biotechnology company based in the U.S. has tapped a wonder plant in the country as a source of biofuel.

Malunggay, scientifically known as Moringa oleifera Lamk, which is widely grown in the Philippines and is considered one the world's most useful plants, is found as a good source of Moringa oil. This oil is believed to be a biofuel source.

SECURA International announced that malunggay oil is being tapped by the North American Biofuels Inc. (NABI) since January as possible raw material for biodiesel production. As a result, the former is currently growing malunggay in 500,000-hectare farmland to meet the demands of NABI.

Since malunggay can easily be grown in the country, SECURA International president Danny Manayaga encouraged the Filipino farmers to take advantage of the situation in meeting the demands of the world for the Moringa oil supply to be used as biodiesel.

Manayaga said this business is sustainable since the market is very accessible. Currently, there are 165 marketing companies in the U.S. for biodiesel using soybean oil as raw material. It is expected that in the next 50 years, Japan and Korea will be the biggest markets of Moringa oil for their automobiles that will use biodiesel.

Others might be thinking of the real viability of Moringa oil as biodiesel. But the NABI has already authenticated that it has passed the biofuels standards. This means doubts of whether this can truly be used are over.

Earlier, the Philippine government is endorsing jatropha as a source of biofuel. However, Manayaga said Moringa oil is more useful that jatropha. What makes malunggay better than the jatropha is that malunggay is 100 percent usable; all parts are biodegradable. Unlike jatropha, it has a toxic part. Once its oil is extracted, the left-over part becomes a nuclear waste according to the findings.

With malunggay as a biofuel source in the Philippines, the country may in some way help other countries reduce the impact of global warming by sharing the benefits of Moringa oil.




Maynard Joseph Delfin finished AB Journalism (cum laude) at the University of Santo Tomas. He has worked as book editor, deskman, copy editor and research and publications officer in leading publishing and research companies in the Philippines.

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