MANILA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The Philippine Department of Energy said on Friday it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia-based research and development firm Star Scientific Ltd to explore the potential of hydrogen as an energy source in the country.
The Southeast Asian country, which is heavily dependent on imported coal and fuel oil, hopes to be able to utilise hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles and a part of its future energy mix.
The use of hydrogen worldwide, mainly utilised in oil refining and to produce ammonia for fertilisers, is expected to grow in the future, with demand seen coming from the transport, building and power generation sectors.
“I have often said that there could be a lot of potential for hydrogen for the local industry given that it is seen as the fuel of the future,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp is constructing an integrated hydrogen manufacturing facility at its Tabangao refinery in the Philippines, which has been converted into an import terminal.
The MOU with Star Scientific states that the Philippine government and its Australian partner “will investigate hydrogen production in the Philippines in an effort to make the country energy independent so as to significantly reduce the country’s CO2 emissions”.
Robert Briggs, senior advisor to the executive chairman of Star Scientific, said the company offered a breakthrough technology called Hydrogen Energy Release Optimiser, which converts hydrogen into heat without combustion. (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz Editing by Ed Davies)