DOST opens vehicle testing lab for alternative fuels
By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines -- After months of delays, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has finally opened the country's first vehicle research and testing laboratory equipped with a chassis dynamometer and emission analyzer used to assess viability of different alternative fuels. The facility is located at the Melchor Hall of the University of the Philippines, where the DOST's academic partner institution, the UP Department of Mechanical Engineering is located. DOST is also represented by its sub-agency the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD). The facility is created under the requirements of Republic Act 9637 or the Biofuels Act to provide infrastructure support for assessment, validation, and performance testing of biofuels . The facility will also develop test protocols, standards and regulations including the use fuel-saving emission and control devices. In an interview, PCIERD Deputy Director Raul Sabularse said the vehicle research and testing laboratory's chassis dynamometer system can do performance testing of commercially available alternative vehicular fuel sources and their effects on vehicles. It can monitor power, torque, speed, fuel economy and emissions for each of the different alternative fuel sources. The goal of the facility is also to inform the public about different sources and resulting usage of alternative fuels, particularly on the right formulation. Among the available fuel sources are coco-methyl ester, bio-ethanol, compressed natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas. Sabularse said the facility already cost P150 million, with P50 million spent on the chassis dynamometer. The cost of the entire facility is shouldered by the DOST, the University of the Philippines, the Department of Energy and the Philippine National Oil Company. Sabularse said the DOST will be adding new equipment, such as more accurate emission analyzer that can see particulate matters. "This one should be more accurate because it can check for unburned fuel and materials not shown by just an ordinary emission analyzer,” he said.
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