In green drive, Thailand to open biorefinery in 2024


Thailand’s shift to green development is about to move into a higher gear as the national science agency will co-invest with a private firm to open the Kingdom’s first biorefinery.

Unlike oil refineries, biorefineries are cleaner and more sustainable facilities that produce alternative materials to petroleum products, which can be used in a variety of industries. As those industries also look to become greener and more sustainable, the demand for the more environmentally friendly materials from biorefineries is bound to grow.

In a move that could sweeten the deal, the government voted to extend a 25 percent corporate tax exemption for bioplastic industry companies. The goal is to promote Thailand as the region’s bio hub.

The biorefinery is slated to open in 2024 in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) advanced development zone. Aside from aiding Thailand’s green development, it should reduce the need for petroleum-based materials by industries located in the Kingdom and abroad.

The refinery will produce biochemicals, biomaterials and bioproducts for the food, feed, cosmetics and nutraceuticals industries. Many consumers do not realize the role petroleum plays as ingredients or in manufacturing the goods they buy. By having its own biorefinery, Thailand will be more self-sufficient and can reduce the need to import such materials.

Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) said that the government will invest $101 million 3.4 billion for infrastructure to support the refinery. The plant is a joint venture between NSTDA and Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP).

According to NSTDA President Narong Sirilertworakul, Thailand produces an excess of over 40 million tonnes a year of biomass each year. This presents an opportunity for the biorefinery to convert that biomass to energy, chemicals and biomaterials. Additional uses for biomass can increase the value of crops such as sugar cane and cassava, increasing incomes for farmers.

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