MANILA— As part of its research program on marine transportation, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) initiated a project to construct a roll-on-roll off (RORO) vessel that would utilize renewable energy.
In an interview with Philippine News Agency, DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said the project’s main objective is to help build a local ship building industry since the Philippines is an archipelagic country. The project would also support local industry development in the marine transport area, particularly those that would help inter-island connectivity, he added.
“We would like to help improve connectivity and access. We would use local talent,” Dela Peña said.
Once constructed, the RORO vessel would use wave energy technology since its wind turbine would help in producing the vessel’s power requirement — the first in the country, Dela Peña said, adding that this could help save as much as 20 percent in fuel.
“‘Yung type of renewable energy from waves while the vessel is running. Kaya hybrid. Ito ang R&D part,” he said. “We will build just one ship, because after this, we hope that the industry will take this up,” he added.
The oceans cover about 70 percent of the surface of the earth and are considered to be one of the greatest sources of renewable energy.
Dela Peña said four agencies — DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Aklan State University, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and private firm Metallica — would work on the project that has a timeline of two years.
Metallica makes small vessels in Aklan that has its own team of engineers and architects. DOST-PCIEERD would fund the project, while Aklan State University would serve as project manager together with Metallica. MARINA, being the regulator as far as marine transportation is concerned, would help the DOST in the project.
“MARINA is really interested and they have committed to collaborate with us,” Dela Peña said.
Some PHP62 million has been allotted for the project. Initial funding for the project was given Thursday and the amount includes the budget for research work, design work, and training.
Dela Peña said they would also tap the expertise of overseas Filipino workers who have worked in shipbuilding companies abroad.
The department is also supporting Aklan State University on its initiatives to open an academic program in Naval Architecture since no public university yet offers the program.
“We want to prove that we can build a ship like this, which would cost much lower than the usual cost of vessels with the same capacity,” Dela Peña said.