SKE readies shift to cleaner fuel

SKE readies shift to cleaner fuel

Firm sees potential in waste-to-energy with purchase of N15

SKE provides service transporting compressed natural gas using trucks. The company plans to allocate capital spending worth more than 300 million baht this year.
SKE provides service transporting compressed natural gas using trucks. The company plans to allocate capital spending worth more than 300 million baht this year.

SET-listed Sakol Energy (SKE), a compressed natural gas trader and biomass power plant operator, plans to develop its recent acquisition N15 Technology Co, a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) processing firm, as it shifts focus to the waste-to-energy business.

SKE believes there is potential in RDF driven by the increasing amount of garbage produced during the pandemic.

The company acquired N15 in a deal in April through a rights offering worth 145 million baht.

Located in Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri, N15 has the capacity to produce 80,000 tonnes of RDF a year.

SKE is determined to develop more RDF-fired power plants in the next few years, said managing director Jakkraphong Sumethchotimetha.

Waste-to-energy power plants, a type of renewable energy-based electricity generation, is expected to be a new global business trend in the post-pandemic period as people's expectations change, he said.

Lockdown measures caused people to spend more time at home for a long period, ordering more food and beverage. The result is more garbage, said Mr Jakkraphong.

This trend is expected to continue even as Covid restrictions are eased following mass vaccination schemes, he said.

More domestic and overseas businesses are projected to shift their operations towards clean energy based on growing concerns over climate change, said Mr Jakkraphong.

SKE chief financial officer Napaporn Sathitthammaporn said the company plans to allocate capital spending worth more than 300 million baht this year.

Some 30 million baht is earmarked for a production upgrade at N15, while the remaining 270 million is for RDF-fired power plant development projects and new asset acquisitions, she said.

Over the long term, SKE plans to increase its power generation capacity to 30 megawatts, up from 9.9MW, by next year.

RDF-fired power plants are a central part of that goal, said Mr Jakkraphong.

SKE operates a 9.9MW biomass power plant in Baan Krating Village in the northern province of Phrae.

The company decided to exit the biomethane gas production business by selling all assets through its subsidiary RE BioFuel Co to RE Power Group for 21.4 million baht in April, the same month it bought N15.

"We left this business because the return on investment was not what we estimated," said Ms Napaporn.

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