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Ilocos Norte- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Shared Service Facility (SSF) for Bioenergy Innovation and Incubation Hub and Co-working Space cum Product Testing Center housed at the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte came to the rescue in response to the shortage of alcohol supply in this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to MMSU President, Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, and leader of the NBERIC program, the university is trying to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in Ilocos Norte by partnering with all local government units (LGUs). She further said that, in this partnership, where the LGUs supply the university with molasses for the production of ethanol, the university can also teach them how to produce ethanol using their technology. Dr. Agrupis further informed the public, that, since the day when ethyl alcohol started to dwindle in the market due to panic buying by some sectors, she, started to tap the expertise of the NBERIC staff and some former medical students of the MMSU College of Medicine to help produce ethanol. One of the facilities used by the university to produce ethanol from any form of sugar is the fully electric distiller powered by a Hybrid Solar Technology, which primarily utilizes solar power. This facility is one of the components of the PhP45M SSF Project turned over by the DTI to the university. DTI-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona, DTI-Region 1 Regional Director Grace FalguiBaluyan, DTI-RO1 Assistant Regional Director Daria R. Mingaracal, and Provincial Directors Rosario Q. Quodala and Merlie D. Membrere of Ilocos Norte and La Union, respectively, graced the SSF Turn-over Ceremonies held last 23 January 2020.

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The distiller can process 150 liters of fermented sugar solution and can produce 12 liters of 95 percent ethanol within four to six hours of operation. The 95 percent ethanol will undergo blending to produce a 70 percent concentration of alcohol. 

As of this writing, the 23 towns and two cities of Ilocos Norte were already informed to get their first ration of 20 liters of ethyl alcohol. To date, around 1,000 liters have been distributed to the different churches, hospitals and LGUs in the province and to the MMSU community. The Shared Service Facility (SSF) for Bioenergy Innovation and Incubation Hub and Co-working Space cum Product Testing Center is a project of the DTI-Ilocos Norte through its Shared Service Facility Program, with MMSU as co-operator.

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Date of Release: 1 April 2020