ACCELERATING THAILAND’S BIOECONOMY
published : 19 Aug 2020 at 12:30
Thailand is accelerating large investment projects in biofuels and biochemicals which will make use of agricultural raw materials and Internet of Things technology to enhance productivity, in an attempt to boost the growth of farm sector and strengthen supply chain for BCG industries.
The Ministry of Industry and the Eastern Economic Corridor Office are pushing forward the private sector’s development of US$-2 billion “Bio Hub” complex in Chachoengsao Province. To be located at 70 kilometers north of Bangkok, the complex will house a US$-0.4-billion biofuel and biochemical facilities for the new generation of biochemical products and biodiesel B100. The ministry will speed up the remaining US$ 1.6 billion worth of investment in the production facilities for bioenergy, biopharmaceuticals and future of healthy food and biorefinery facilities which will benefit from cassava plantations in the area.
A US$-1.3 billion biorefinery complex will be built in Lopburi Province of the country’s lower northern region with a cooperation from businesses and sugarcane growers to turn agricultural raw materials to alternative energy and biochemicals such as lactic acid, yeast and enzymes.
The ministry will also accelerate investment in US$-1-billion in bio-refinery complex to Nakhon Sawan and Kamphaeng Petch provinces, in the country’s lower Northern region, to produce ethanol for power plants and biochemicals for food production.The EEC office will also speed up investment complexes in pipeline in Chacheongsao, Rayong and Chonburi provinces of country’s central region, worth a combine of US$ 314 million.
The Thai government also plans to expand the investment for bioeconomy to other parts of the country including Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Yasothon and Amnat Charoen provinces in the country’s lower northeastern region to make use of vast plantations of cassava and sugarcanes.
The EEC Office is pushing forward development of an integrated biotechnology complex, located at the Eastern Economic Corridor Innovation Zone (EECi) in Wang Chan Valley, Rayong Province, which will support matching of demand and supply for R&D, commercial development for innovations and job matching.
EECi will house 1,400-acre “Biopolis” compound which is designed to offer an integrated ecosystem for innovations and business development in biotechnology. Well-positioned to become a leading R&D center for biotechnology in ASEAN, Biopolis will collaborate with businesses to determine R&D topics for high-value products such as functional ingredients, biochemicals and bioprocess, and provide comprehensive assistance to businesses such as prototype production, incubation, business scale up, startup exchange program and training.
The Biopolis will accommodate agricultural technologies plant factory, sensing technology used to raise productivity for breeding of high-value plants, and demonstrate plantation and harvest as well as offer technical assistance to agricultural businesses. It seeks to collaborate with EECi’s “Food Innopolis” to upgrade competitive of the country’s food industry and “Agripolis”, the center for smart electronics, robotics and Internet of Things to apply Agri-tech for developments toward innovative agriculture.
With the presence of research centers, science and engineering academies and secondary schools, EECi will strengthen collaborations among the public sector, businesses and academic institutions innovations, business development and human resources management.
EECi is located near open-field plantations where Agri-tech such as Global Navigation Satellite System, remote sensing and Artificial Intelligence which lays foundations for precision farming will be deployed to raise productivity of plantation. EECi also aims to be a platform for collaboration among science parks across the countries in R&D.