S and T Post Banner
Vol. XXVI, 3rd Quarter
July–September 2008
Government launches vehicle research and testing laboratory

The government launched recently the Vehicle Research and Testing Laboratory to implement research and efficiency evaluation of emerging alternative fuel, and performance testing on fuel-saving and emission-control products. It will also develop test protocols and propose standards and regulations on alternative fuels. 

“This was discussed in the cabi-net exactly three years ago by the President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) who saw the need to intensify the country’s technology development on alternative fuels and specifically instructed DOST to spearhead this program.  Also in that same year, during a meeting, strategic measures were discussed to address the oil crisis stressing the need to mobilize efforts to promote fuel-saving devices while ensuring consumer welfare protection, “Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro explained.

The VRTL is a joint initiative of DOST, Department of Energy, the University of the Philippines, and Philippine National Oil Company.

“The program is the biggest academe based government project today with a budget of P128 million,’ UP Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao disclosed. The project’s proponents will pitch in for the budget.

The UP College of Engineering hosts the laboratory which has fully equipped chassis dynamometer system in climate-controlled test cell capable of conducting vehicle and engine performance tests following international standards. 

It also has emission analyzer, portable cetane analyzer, and diesel and gasoline CFR engine system.  The laboratory will be able to produce information on the performance of products claiming to save fuel and reduce emissions.

“This will definitely help the government to check on unscrupulous businessmen or distributors of fuel-saving devices who take advantage of uninformed consumers. The government can now recommend or certify these devices and provide information to consumers on their effectiveness,” Alabastro said. 

“More importantly, the test results can help in improving the production and formulation of alternative fuels such as the locally produced coco-methyl ester (CME), bio-ethanol and diesel-liquefied petroleum gas mixtures, she added.

Soaring fuel prices prompted the country to develop biofuels through Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006, which requires oil firms to blend 5% biofuel on imported fuel. The government intensified its R&D program on indigenous renewable and clean energy sources like jathropa, palm oil, coconut oil, corn, and sugarcane.