CPF leads by example with renewable fuel projects

SARABURI : Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc (CPF), the country's biggest food maker and exporter, has stepped up efforts to use more renewable energy from waste discharged from chicken, pig and shrimp operations.

The cogeneration plant in Saraburi generates 5.5MWof the 10MWused there each day.

Alternative fuel projects consisting of six biomass plants, three cogeneration plants and a biodiesel plant will start up this year at a combined cost of nearly 1 billion baht.

The development is part of a CPF campaign since 2004 to go green and cut the use of fossil fuel energy by 20% a year.

President Adirek Sripratak has set a mid-June opening for the three cogeneration plants, which capture heat for general use while generating electricity from natural gas.

Built at a cost of 500 million baht, the plants are at chicken plants in Saraburi province and eastern Bangkok's Min Buri and Nong Chok districts.

The facilities will save 50,000 megajoules of electricity and cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 30,000 tonnes a year.

CPF's first cogeneration plant was launched in 1999 at Bangkok Produce Merchandising Co, a subsidiary in Saraburi, with the capacity to generate 5.5 megawatts of the 10 MW used at the plant each day.

"When the second phase of the Saraburi plant is completed, it will supply an additional 4 MW, leaving just a bit of power needed from the Provincial Electricity Authority," said Theerayut Patcharamaneepakorn, the vice-president for food processing and poultry.

CPF, the SET-listed food flagship of the CP Group with expected sales of 400 billion baht this year, also plans to build six biogas plants nationwide.

An anaerobic baffled reactor will be used to convert biomass from wastewater discharged from shrimp and chicken processing plants in Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla and Rayong provinces.

The six plants normally discharge as much as 5.6 million litres a year, sufficient for conversion to biogas for use in the power boilers.

Kritsada Tosathum, the head of systematic engineering, said this will help to reduce the use of liquid petroleum gas by 465,000 kilogrammes and of bunker oil by 1.2 million litres each year.

Before these biogas projects take shape, Mr Kritsada said the company is carrying out a pilot project at the chicken plant in Min Buri, converting wastewater and minimising bad odours in the area.

Soon the firm will open its third biodiesel unit in Nong Chok to turn 50,000 litres a month of used oil into 47,500 litres of B100 biodiesel.

At its first two biodiesel mills in Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima, some 200,000 litres of used cooking oil is converted to 1.7 million litres of biodiesel each month by applying a chemical process called transesterification.

"B100 biodiesel fuel has excellent properties for powering common-rail engines and vehicles used by the company such as forklifts and employee shuttle buses," said Mr Kritsada.

The oil has passed quality tests from the Energy Business Department, and in 2008 the project received a Thailand Energy Award from the Energy Ministry.

The cost of the company-made B100 biodiesel is comparatively cheap at 20 baht a litre.

Mr Kritsada said the project not only lowers dependence on fossil fuels but also helps to manage used oil and improve the environment.

Shares of CPF closed Friday on the SET at 32 baht, down one baht, in trade worth 772 million baht.

About the author

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Writer: Walailak Keeratipipatpong
Position: Reporter