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From wasteful to resourceful: Tanduay’s Absolut Distillers taps green energy needs of local companies

This distillery was once an environment enemy. Today, it arms an energy plant to produce clean electricity.
By Elyssa Christine Lopez |



COMING CLEAN. Absolut Distillers now sends their alcohol production wastes, effluents to a nearby facility where it is converted into renewable energy. Photo from Absolut Distillers website



Germany almost supplied all of its electricity demands in a day from renewable energy in May. Oslo, the capital of Norway, is banning cars for good by 2019. China has become the world’s biggest investor of renewable energy this April. While the rest of the world doubles it efforts to go coal-free, the Philippines has a lot of catching up to do.



According to the Asian Development Bank, the country’s untapped renewable energy resources are estimated at about 250,000 megawatts, enough to power over a hundred thousand homes, with the average household spending 200 KWh a month.


Related: Bulacan-based firm aggressive on renewable energy projects

By 2030, the Department of Energy hopes renewable energy will account for 30 percent of energy production nationwide. This will be possible only if industries take the initiative – let go of wasteful methods and start providing green energy options to cater to the needs of green energy users.


Related: How 22-year-old Leandro Leviste is taking risks with solar energy




RENEWABLE. Aseagas'  8.8 MW facility in Lian, Batangas can power up to 22,000 homes, thanks to the effluents provided by Absolut. Photo from Aseagas website




First of its kind

In the case of Aseagas, a renewable energy company owned by the conglomerate Aboitiz Group, it built an 8.8 MW facility in Lian, Batangas which can power up to 22,000 homes. As if to make its cause sweeter, the plant will generate energy from effluents or waste products extracted from molasses, a byproduct of alcohol production.


Related: Aboitiz Equity Ventures bullish as PH welcomes new leadership

The facility beside it, Absolut Distillers, will provide the waste products, the same company which used to burn over P2 million a month just to ensure it is releasing environment-friendly waste.


“It helps us focus on our main business, which is producing ethanol,” Gerardo Tee, chief operating officer of Absolut Distillers, told Forbes Philippines this July.


The distillery even halted operations for two months back in 1996 because its waste products harmed nearby rivers. Since then, it has turned a new leaf with its diversification tactic.



While Absolut used to solely rely on providing ethyl alcohol to its sister company, Tanduay, it now maximizes every single element produced by its facility, sealing deals with various companies from different industries.


Absolut now sells carbon dioxide, a byproduct of alcohol production, to Asia Brewery and Coca-Cola, as well as dry ice to Philippine Airlines.


The effluents it produces are also converted into liquid fertilizers, with some distributed to local farmers for free.



Going cleaner

Aside from such actions, the company also converts its methane gas to power up boilers, cutting the facility’s energy costs to half.


Tanduay president and CEO Lucio “Bong” Tan Jr. said those moves helped the company regain its confidence and overcome the bad reputation distilleries get for past hazardous practices.


“We have shown to the world that we can be responsible. We can be sustainable and we can make money being clean. That is very important,” Tan told Forbes Philippines





Elyssa Christine Lopez is's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter@elyssalopz

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