PTT going green with bioeconomy complex and R&D center
Moving from black gold to a green future, Thai energy conglomerate PTT will open a cutting-edge research and development center in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and a bioeconomy complex in central Nakhon Sawan province, as the company demonstrates its commitment to help drive innovation in Thailand.
Already affected by climate change and plastic pollution, Thailand is seeking ways to reduce fossil fuel use, create and adopt green and more environmentally friendly technologies, while also striving to make innovation and higher technologies the basis of its economy. PTT’s two projects align with national goals.
PTT’s bioeconomy complex will initially produce ethanol, foundational compounds for biofuels and upstream green products, and contain an 85-megawatt biomass power plant. A second phase will produce bio-based feedstock for biodegradable plastics, cosmetics, additives, animal feeds, personal care, home care, and fragrances.
Executives at the company said the first phase of the complex would be up and running by 2021. Global Green Chemicals (GGC), a listed company and subsidiary of PTT, will manage the facilities. The primary raw materials are sugar cane and palm oil, both of which are in plentiful supply from the Kingdom’s agricultural sector.
GGC has signed an agreement with Chempolis, a biorefinery technology provider from Finland, to conduct a feasibility study of biochemical products from sugar fiber.
PTT said last week that it is ready to launch a research and development center in the Wang Chan Valley of Rayong province, regarded as the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation, or EECi. The corridor is a three-province (Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao) advanced development zone adjacent to Bangkok.
Wittawat Svasti-Xuto, PTT’s chief technology and engineering officer, said R&D activities at the center would focus on results that can be developed for commercial purposes, as opposed to those that only advance knowledge for academic endeavors.
The company is working with ten leading Thai universities to collaborate on research work and provide opportunities for talented students and academics to participate. The collaborations will also contribute to human resource development, helping to create a larger pool of innovators.
Photo courtesy of An artist’s rendition of the EECI in Rayong’s Wang Chan Valley (Bangkok Post)