Thailand is renewing the effort to adopt biomass as a leading energy source, with the aim of relieving companies from growing fossil fuel prices.
The Southeast Asian nation already identified the bio-circular-green economic model as a strategy to revive its economy in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis. Now, Thailand aims to promote new industries on the back of its large agricultural sector.
In effect, Thailand is a leading producer of rice, sugar cane, and cassava. The government estimates that 40 million tons of biomass is left unused each year. Biomass presents an opportunity to maximize agriculture revenue, and reduce waste and use of fossil fuels.
Thailand has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. At the moment, more than 70% of its electricity comes from burning natural gas and coal, while renewable energy accounts for only about 10%. The government plans to lift that ratio to 50%.
Thailand’s biomass plants generated about 4.7 gigawatts (GW) of power in 2021, according to Fitch Solutions. Thailand is ahead of regional peers when it comes to using biomass energy, and has the most biomass capacity in the region.
Large companies, both domestic and foreign, are spearheading innovative solutions. For instance, Japan’s Ajinomoto set up a cogeneration system that burns rice husks at a factory in northern Thailand. The company decided to install a biomass cogeneration system at its umami seasoning plant. Local farmers will supply the plant with rice husks that will fuel the cogeneration system, providing both electricity and heat for the facility. Energy costs are expected to go down as much as 20%.
(Source: Nikkei Asia; Bangkok Post; Open Development Mekong)