The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) with a Php 4 million fund in line with its project WARP (Widening Application of Research within the Pandemic).
Through its Science Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program, the international agency funds MMSU’s plan to establish another village-scale bioethanol industry using nipa sap.
Engr. Thomas Ubiña, chief of MMSU National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC), said the project aims to deploy two units of Village-Scale Nipahol Technology (VSNT) in Aparri, Cagayan to enable the community to produce their own 70% ethyl alcohol.
“This will strongly push us toward technology franchising,” Engr. Ubiña added.
MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis, the principal investigator of the project, said the support from USAID-STRIDE brings the University closer to its dream of franchising bioethanol production in the region, and vertically integrating the nipa community and the bioethanol industry.
“This will further help us sustain renewable energy and create resilient communities amid the pandemic,” Dr. Agrupis added.
She received the WARP grant certificate in a virtual ceremony held today, April 27.
In this line, the team will conduct capacity-building activities to equip its partners in the said town with the required technical and entrepreneurial skills for their operations.
Also, they will also apply for registration to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a side-by-side laboratory analysis with its certified laboratories and in-house researchers to ensure product quality and consumers’ safety. Moreover, market, supply and value chain, SWOT and PEST analyses will be conducted.
The research project is based on the previously-funded MMSU project in 2014 that led to the development of proprietary fermentation and distillation technologies that produced high-grade bioethanol from various feedstocks.
MMSU is among the only five higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country which have been given the WARP grant this year. Other universities include the University of the Philippines – Visayas, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, University of San Carlos in Cebu, and Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology.
The WARP grant demonstrates how technologies and research capabilities in a university can help address challenges within the new operating environment of the pandemic.