Project scales up bio-based oil

Project scales up bio-based oil

Pictured from left are Mr Suracha, Mr Kittiphong and Mr Poonphiphat at the signing of the agreement for collaboration.
Pictured from left are Mr Suracha, Mr Kittiphong and Mr Poonphiphat at the signing of the agreement for collaboration.

BBGI Plc, SCG Chemicals Plc and QTC Energy Plc have signed a commercial collaboration agreement to jointly develop and manufacture bio-based transformer oil in a production trial said to be the first of its kind in Thailand.

The companies plan to scale up towards commercial production, in line with the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model.

Kittiphong Limsuwannarot, president and chief executive of BBGI, said the results of phase 2 of the bio transformer oil production trial successfully scaled up production capacity from the laboratory level.

The trial also evaluated the oil's significant properties such as viscosity, dielectric strength and auto-ignition point, with the results passing the standards required for transformer oil.

The bio-based oil was used for a trial run on a transformer and already passed the relevant transformer standards.

BBGI and its partners agreed to manufacture and perform quality assessment on bio transformer oil products before commercialisation, while conducting investment research to expand existing biodiesel plants to support commercial production.

Suracha Udomsak, executive vice-president for new business and chief innovation officer at SCG Chemicals, said the company continues to innovate chemical products for sustainability by adopting BCG economic principles and following mega-trends as a framework to develop products and services.

Innovation-driven value can help propel the economy, industry and quality of life, along with making a positive contribution to society and the environment, he said.

The collaboration uses an open innovation approach, enabling Texplore Co, a unit under SCG Chemicals, to bring its expertise in catalyst technologies to develop bio transformer production technology from a byproduct of the palm oil industry.

The process involves adopting the byproduct into BBGI's manufacturing process and moving forward with QTC's transformer oil testing method.

This is the first time Thailand produced its own bio transformer oil to replace imports, marking a significant development in the country's bio-economy.

The oil is biodegradable and environmentally friendly as it does not cause pollution in a soil or aquatic environment, part of a low-carbon economy.

Poonphiphat Tantanasin, chief executive of QTC Energy, a transformer technology manufacturer and distributor, said the bio transformer oil test results found its properties are equivalent to the output produced by manufacturers overseas.

In terms of advantages, the bio transformer oil has a similar viscosity to mineral oil and can act as a replacement without requiring designing a new transformer that deviates from the established designs and standards, he said.

For the pre-marketing phase, QTC is slated to be the first buyer to use and distribute the oil to its clients interested in an eco-friendly transformer at a lower price, said Mr Poonphiphat.

The product is expected to be ready for production and distribution by the middle of this year.

QTC is confident the partnership reinforces the firm's commitment to conducting business in tandem with environmental sustainability, he said.

The project aligns with the government's BCG economy efforts and measures that promote products made from palm oil under the National Oil Palm Policy Committee, with the aim of stimulating bio transformer oil demand in Thailand.

Commercial manufacturing is expected to cut production costs for business owners currently relying on imports.

The partners said the collaboration is projected to enhance the country's competitiveness and add value to its crops, while distributing wealth across communities and moving development towards sustainability.

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