Recycling fuels his green world

Manila, Philippines --- In this age of increasing prices of petroleum, a 76-year-old businessman and inventor has developed remarkable innovations to resist being a slave to fossil fuel.

His name is Gonzalo "Jun" Catan Jr. His name probably rings a bell, being the founder of one of the country's biggest pest control companies, Mapecon Philippines, Inc.

But to describe Catan as a mere businessman who earns a living by driving away rats and other critters is to sell him short; he is an entomologist (one who studies insects) as well as an inventor with a flair for clean, green and efficient energy.

His inventiveness and penchant for the environmentally-sustainable has actually spawned an entire subsidiary of his company - Mapecon Green Charcoal Philippines, Inc., or simply MGCPI. Established in 1990, MGCPI lives in a rather non-descript green building in Vito Cruz, Manila where the gray-haired, suspenders-wearing Catan pursues his guiding principle.

"There is nothing we cannot recycle," he tells this reporter.

That, in a nutshell, is Catan's blueprint for innovation: Recycling. This is quite evident in MGCPI's signature product, Green Charcoal, which he began experimenting with in the mid-90s.

Green Charcoal

As its name implies, Green Charcoal spares precious trees from kaingeros or slash-and-burn farmers who produce the usual kind of uling (charcoal). Instead, Catan uses biodegradable wastes and other biomass from both household and industrial garbage as his raw materials.

"Biomass includes all kinds of grasses (like talahib, napier, cogon), cuttings or branches of pruned trees, leaves, water lilies, agricultural wastes from coconut, rice, bananas, palm, sugar cane, sorghum, corn (and) biodegradable garbage including food wastes," he said.

With these materials, Catan was able to produce a slow-burning fuel in Green Charcoal, the applications of which has the potential to gradually, if not drastically, cut the country's oil imports.

"A further development of Green Charcoal technology is that now more hydrogen gas can be produced during combustion," the inventor said.

The "Green Charcoal Hydrogen" paved the way for two other "green" innovations - JCEL diesel and the hydrogen cooking system. These two products are safer, cheaper and more efficient alternatives to commercial pump diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), respectively.

Green diesel

JCEL stands for "Jesus Christ the Exalted Lord" (Mapecon is a corporate church where Jesus Christ is the President and Catan the Executive Vice President of the company).

Introduced in the market in 2010, JCEL diesel results to increased mileage for the vehicle in use (20 percent higher) as well as reduced tailpipe emissions (at least 50 percent), Catan said.

A test conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau's (DENR-EMB) technical group showed that MGCPI's diesel brand produced 65.6 percent less emissions against regular diesel fuel.

Moreover, its price is five percent lower than that of regular diesel and has good lubrication properties.

According to Catan, JCEL is made by applying green hydrogen gas with catalytic botanical oily enzymes into ordinary diesel. "We use diesel as raw material to form another type of fuel," he explained. He said the process improves the efficiency of the base product.

All 30 company vehicles of Mapecon run on JCEL diesel, said Catan whose Green Charcoal earned him the Bronze Medal in the 24th Geneva International Exhibits of Inventions in 1996.

Hydrogen cooking gas

Green Charcoal Hydrogen also has applications in the kitchen wherein the gas is harnessed as cooking fuel, replacing expensive and potentially dangerous LPG.

"There is no danger of explosion with hydrogen. If hydrogen leaks and combines with oxygen, it becomes water," the septuagenarian said. Likewise, it eliminates the health hazards posed by the chemicals emanating from LPG, such as the cancerous nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Boulevard, Manila has been using the hydrogen cooking system since March 2010, after MGCPI converted two of its five kitchens.

A report on the best practices in the Philippines on climate change adaptation noted that from March 2010 to November 2011, or a period of 12 months, Aristocrat was able to replace 50,400 kilograms of LPG with green hydrogen, translating to savings of P300,000. The report came from the MDG (Millennium Development Goal) Achievement Fund.

"MGCPI reported that the switch in fuel 'reduced the greenhouse gas emissions, especially the NOx emissions from burning LPG, which when absorbed into the human blood can be a carcinogen even at only 0.1 ppm (parts per million) concentration."'

Catan said the restaurant now saves 15 percent from its monthly LPG expenses.

For smaller-scale cooking operations in canteens or in the household, Catan created the "Organic Kooking" machine, which also uses hydrogen-producing Green Charcoal as fuel.

'Vermicast'

There is yet another MGCPI product that brings Catan's ideas to full-circle: its natural fertilizer known as "vermicast", which are in fact worm castings from night crawler earthworms.

Through a patented method called "vermilog", the company, in its 3.4-hectare plant in Alaminos, Laguna, is able to propagate millions of worms that produce good quality vermicast.

Vermilog involves feeding the worms with food prepared from organic wastes, leafy vegetables and other biomass in predetermined proportions, thus maximizing their productivity.

The plant can produce up 20 metric tons of the natural fertilizer and 20,000 liters of Biotech Fertilizer (known commercially as MBA 54) daily. Catan said that his could fertilize the equivalent of 5,600 hectares of rice, replacing 2.24 million kilograms of petroleum-derived chemical fertilizers and the corresponding amount of fungicides and pesticides.

"Vermicast is complimentary to the Green Charcoal Hydorgen project," said Catan.

"We spend big money to import fuel. This affects food security. Our problem is serious. We cannot compete if we do not have indigenous sources of fuel."

Catan said that vermicast encourages farmers to do away with harmful chemical fertilizers with the promise of a better harvest. His guarantee: "As they produce more food, we will produce more fuel."

MGCPI even accepts agricultural wastes as "payment" for vermicast, depending on what the farm worker or client can provide, be it the refuse from coconuts, coffee, banana, rice or other crops. These are then used as raw materials for Green Charcoal.

"We're just doing our part. I want to contribute my share in attacking the problems of the millennium," he said.

If it's biodegradable, then Catan can recycle it.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a movement in the West Valley Fault. The West Valley Fault has moved four times in the past 1,400 years at an interval …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options