Biogas projects outperform, now number 409 facilities

Biogas projects in Thailand now number 409 with combined capacity of 1.4 billion cubic metres per day, beating the forecast by energy policymakers, says the Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo).

From 2008-12, a total of 338 biogas facilities began operating with total capacity of 637 million cmpd, while another 71 sites are under construction or in the design process.Secretary-general Suthep Liamsiricharoen said total biogas capacity will reach 1.41 billion cmpd in a few years.

Since the government announced in 2008 that it would promote biogas use, Eppo has received applications for 414 projects, he said.

"Only last year, the number of applications rose sharply, by 283, after higher energy prices prompted industrial manufacturers to seek alternative energy from waste," said Mr Suthep.

"Another factor driving the popularity of biogas is grants and soft loans from the Energy Conservation Fund, nearly 4 billion baht to date."

Of the biogas plants in operation, 55 biogas use palm oil as feedstock, 25 use starch, 24 processed foods, six ethanol, two rubber and the rest other feedstock.

Eppo expects biogas-generated power to reach 300 megawatts, in line with the national goal of renewable energy supplying 25% of demand by 2021.

Energy generated from biogas could replace 7.35 billion baht worth of fuel imports per year.

In the next stage, Eppo will promote the use of napier grass, a feed for elephants, in abandoned deforestation areas.

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Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter