Sontirat revives long-shelved grass-growing biofuel project

Sontirat revives long-shelved grass-growing biofuel project

Sontirat: Focus on renewable power
Sontirat: Focus on renewable power

The Energy Ministry plans to promote biomethane-gas power projects from Napier grass to encourage local agricultural communities to grow this giant grass for power generation.

Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said the ministry will resume this scheme after it was put back indefinitely in 2012-13.

"The ministry will consult with the Federation of Thai Industries about granting licences for this," he said.

The biomethane-gas power project was initiated for the first time 7-8 years ago as a resource for generating power before being shelved.

The idea is to create bio-energy from agricultural products which would help drive the local economy and help farmers.

Biogas power generation under the power development plan (PDP) 2018-37 could make 546 megawatts over the next 20 years, but most capacity will be produced from faeces from livestock farms and wastewater.

"My policies will give priority to private firms to participate in energy business activities; for instance, joint ventures with local communities to invest in renewable power," he said.

Mr Sontirat added the industrial sector consumes one-third of total demand for power, so this sector should work closely with the government.

Among other bio-energy plans are proposals to enlarge crude palm oil for biodiesel; the ministry plans to promote B10, replacing the current formula B7.

Crude palm oil is extracted as methyl ester, blended with 10 per cent diesel to make B10. Meanwhile, B7 comes with 7% methyl ester.

Mr Sontirat added the ministry plans to push peer-to-peer power trades from renewable energy under the PDP.

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