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URC: Units lead march towards net-zero goal

Universal Robina Corp. (URC), the food unit of the Gokongwei Group, said its agro-industrial and sugar groups have been leading the way for the company’s overall push for a net-zero emission goal by 2050.

Since 2015, the company’s agro-industrial group has been generating over 600 megawatts a year at its poultry farm in Naic, Cavite, and pig farm in San Miguel, Bulacan, using biogas. Its sugar group, meanwhile, kept the biogas program in place when it took over the assets of Roxas Holdings Inc. in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, in 2020.

“These efforts are part of URC’s overall push towards reaching its ‘net zero’ goal by 2050, by sourcing its energy needs from power producers that use renewable sources,” Irwin Lee, URC president and CEO said.

Net zero emission is a strategy to zero-out the amount of greenhouse gases the company emits, by offsetting these with its efforts such as recycling or planting trees or in this case using renewable energy in its operations.

This commitment will support the Philippines’s pledge to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and to reduce the country’s GHG emission by 75 percent by 2030 as part of its National Determined Contribution.

“Our aim is to have all our plants utilize electricity from 100 percent renewable energy within the decade. We’re working with energy providers, and within our own facilities, to achieve this as soon as possible,” Lee said.

The company’s sprawling poultry farm in Naic provides enough chicken dung to power a 270 kilovolt ampere (Kva) generator, while its pig farm in Bulacan powers 2 x 500 Kva generator from its biogas output.

The company’s animal waste is conveyed, collected and stored into covered anaerobic tanks, which produces methane that it use to power its generators.

For its sugar unit, biogas has displaced up to 40 percent of its solid fuel needs in its La Carlota Distillery. Biomass mainly powers its boilers.

In addition, bagasse, a fibrous material leftover extracted from sugarcane, is fed to boilers to produce electricity, which powers mill operations in all of its sugar mills in the country.

In 2021, a total of 871,000 Giga Joule of energy was produced from the utilization of biomass / biogas.

Last February URC’s branded consumer foods group began sourcing its energy needs from power producers that use renewable sources.

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