BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA : Loxley Plc is spending 60 million baht to build a pilot plant for algae-based biofuel, possibly in Ratchaburi province.
The location will likely be at the power plant owned by Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc in Ratchaburi province so that carbon dioxide from the plant can be used to feed algae, said Nattapon Dejvitak, vice-president for business development of the SET-listed trading group Loxley.
The investment came after Loxley signed a memorandum of understanding for the algae-based biofuel development project with Bangchak Petroleum Plc, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding and the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE).
Construction on a six-rai plot will start in mid-2012 and will be finished in the next several months. However, it would take years to search for appropriate algae species for the production.
Six researchers and biologists will be recruited soon, said Mr Nattapon.
He added that Loxley would use the technology, wastewater treatment and techniques for algae plantation, harvesting and extraction developed by MBD Energy Co, a Brisbane-based algae oil developer which claims to be an expert in the field.
Although algae-based biofuel costs 30% higher to make than palm oil-based fuel, the cost will likely drop in the future. The plant will start full operation next year and if business becomes viable, a commercial-production plant may be built within 2014 with a total investment cost of about one billion baht.
Loxley targets daily algae production at 90 tonnes per day, which will translate into 10 tonnes of biofuel a day.
Earlier, Loxley said it would spend about 4 billion baht under its five-year renewable energy plan ending in 2014.
Loxley began refocusing on renewable energy in 2010, setting an ambitious goal of raising revenue from green business to 20% of an estimated 30 billion baht in 2016 from less than 1% of 14.6 billion baht booked last year.
Shares of LOXLEYclosed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 3.66 baht, down 16 satang, in trade worth 156.42 million baht.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter