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Driving Sustainable Transportation in the Philippines

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In his address after the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) 125th anniversary celebration, Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista stressed the urgent need for the agency to accelerate the transformation of the country’s transportation systems. Encouraging DOTr personnel to maintain unwavering focus, Secretary Bautista stressed the importance of swiftly completing various ongoing transport projects across aviation, railway, road, and maritime sectors.

Secretary Bautista echoed the President’s call for DOTr to pioneer transformative projects revolutionising the transport landscape, emphasising their importance in addressing both present needs and future challenges, urging the agency to stay updated on emerging trends and industry best practices.

Quoting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Secretary Bautista highlighted DOTr’s crucial role in shaping a brighter future for the nation, urging staff to approach their tasks with renewed enthusiasm and determination as the agency enters its 125th year.

Image credits: PCIEERD, Facebook

The Philippines is actively embracing digital and technological innovations to transition towards alternative energy transportation solutions. Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) introduced the Safe, Efficient, and Sustainable Solar-Assisted Plug-In Electric Boat (SESSY E-Boat) during a demo run at the Manila Yacht Club. Developed by researchers from Mapua University, this PHP19-million project, co-funded by DOST and the Department of Energy, heralds a new era in eco-friendly maritime transport.

Director Enrico Paringit of DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) emphasised the boat’s exceptional efficiency, especially considering its size and design. With a quiet motor and minimal environmental impact when powered by solar energy, the SESSY E-Boat stands as a testament to sustainable innovation in marine transportation.

Accommodating up to 10 passengers and two crew members, the SESSY E-Boat boasts flexible seating arrangements, allowing for tailored experiences such as diving or snorkelling trips. Designed to meet local maritime needs, particularly for tourism, the boat has undergone rigorous safety evaluations by the Maritime Industry Authority.

Currently seeking potential adopters, DOST-PCIEERD envisions widespread adoption of the SESSY E-Boat across various sectors. While the prototype is complete, minor refinements, including aesthetic enhancements, are underway as researchers prepare for replication and commercialisation.

Researchers meticulously selected battery and motor components, integrating their proprietary automatic identification system (AIS) into the design. With a slow charge time of four hours providing a two-hour runtime, the SESSY E-Boat can extend its operation by harnessing solar energy, offering a sustainable solution for prolonged journeys on the water.

The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) envisions a future where electric vehicles (e-vehicles) play a central role in promoting environmental sustainability and economic growth. Through a comprehensive national development programme spanning four phases over a decade, EVAP aims to cultivate a robust e-vehicle industry with strong government and societal support.

The initiative’s phases include technology upgrading (2013), market development and production capacity enhancement (2014-2015), market expansion and integration with the automotive industry (2016-2018), and full integration into regional and global markets (2019-2023). Key objectives include operational and regulatory reforms, bolstering automotive policies, addressing supply chain gaps, and implementing effective market development strategies.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is spearheading the E-Trike Project, with ambitious goals to deploy 100,000 e-trikes nationwide, replacing traditional gasoline-fed tricycles. This initiative aims to significantly reduce the transport sector’s petroleum consumption by 2.8% annually, equivalent to 89.2 million litres while achieving a remarkable 79% carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint avoidance.

With a budget of US$504 million over five years, primarily funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), the project underscores the commitment to energy security by promoting energy-efficient and clean technologies.

Additionally, the industry development programme convenes stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to foster collaboration and drive progress in the e-vehicle sector, ensuring a sustainable future for transportation in the Philippines.


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