Manila: A bicycle that comes from trees, fuel from green sludge and tricycles that run on lithium batteries are among the green transport initiatives line up by the Senate as priority projects for 2011.

With fossil fuel price increases already a permanent fixture in the horizon and the increasing cost of pollution weighing on the environment, the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) identified the development of electric vehicles and green transport as priority projects of the commission for 2011.

Senator Edgardo Angara, chair of COMSTE said that innovative green transport systems such as electric tricycles, hybrid jeepneys, buses and electric bicycles emit less pollution compared to conventional transportation and are lessening the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

Combination power


Among the projects in the COMSTE line-up that shows much promise is the development of a combination pedal and electric powered bicycle that is made from bamboo.

With its frame made from bamboo — a versatile grass that can be grown just about anywhere in the Philippines — the electric bamboo bike combines the practicality and convenience of an electric bicycle with the environment-friendliness of a personal transport vehicle made from light materials.

The bamboo bike has a 30km range on five hours of charging and weighs only 18 kilograms. It is runs on an electric motor but can easily revert to pedal power.

A result of a thesis project by college students of the Ateneo Innovation Centre, the electric bike promotes an eco-friendly, green transport on a smaller scale.

Aside from the hybrid bamboo bike, another vehicle supported by COMSTE is the a three-wheeled vehicle powered by lithium batteries.

Lithium cells provide the tricycle can be recharged from conventional wall outlets such as those found in homes.

The electric vehicle initiative is being pushed to address the growing need for more eco-friendly, and sustainable transport. Angara said that the programme can lessen the dependence on imported fuel sources and lead the way to creating energy independence while also lessening the carbon footprint of the transport sector.

COMSTE is also promoting research on the development of fuel from algae.

According to Angara, a team composed of members from Ateneo University and two other photo bio-reactor companies aim to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae as a source of biofuel.

Angara noted that even big oil companies have started to research the use of algae as fuel. Some airlines have also begun test flights consisting of biofuel blends.