National oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group is aiming to scale its battery production capacity to a gigawatt-hour level after opening a factory in Rayong, the first semi-solid battery production facility in Southeast Asia.
PTT runs the battery business through its power generation arm, Global Power Synergy Plc (GPSC), which on Monday held an opening ceremony online, presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The 1.1-billion-baht factory, located in the Map Ta Phut area, currently has a capacity of 30-megawatt hours. It will produce batteries, named "G Cell", to serve electric vehicles (EVs) like tuk-tuks, buses and motorcycles used for the delivery of goods, said Worawat Pitayasiri, GPSC president and chief executive.
The capacity will allow the firm to supply batteries to 3,000 tuk-tuks or 150 buses.
With semi-solid technology, batteries will be lower in weight, require less production cost and will not be prone to explosions, compared with solid batteries.
Thailand is the third country with a semi-solid battery production facility in Asia after China and Japan.
"EVs will become more popular if prices decrease and battery technology is developed to increase engine efficiency," Gen Prayut said.
The state is promoting the EV industry to stay in line with global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
GPSC is determined to expand its battery business, planning to increase production capacity to 1-gigawatt hour (GWH) in two years and to 10GWH within 10 years under capital expenditure worth 30 billion baht, Mr Worawat said.
Recently, the company spent 30 billion baht to expand its power generation capacity.
The expenditure will not increase the firm's registered capital, he said.
GPSC will produce batteries for electric vehicles first and then later develop stationary batteries which are used as energy storage for renewable power.
Renewable power is environmentally friendly but its power supply is unsteady due to intermittent sources of power like the sun and wind.
The company is currently studying the market for stationary batteries, according to Mr Worawat.
GPSC is a licensee of US-based 24M Technologies Inc, the owner of energy storage systems technology. The semi-solid battery was developed by the US firm.
"Our battery production will serve the growth of the EV industry and renewable power," Mr Worawat said.