State energy firms keen on alternative fuels

State energy firms keen on alternative fuels

Egat to replace coal with wood pellets

The Linden Cogen power plant in the US state of New Jersey.
The Linden Cogen power plant in the US state of New Jersey.

More state-run energy firms are eager to try alternative fuels to support the campaign against climate change, with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) becoming the latest agency, aiming to replace coal with wood pellets to fuel its power plant.

Egat has teamed up with the Forest Industry Organisation to conduct a study on fast-growing plants that can be used as biomass fuel, part of Egat's long-term plan to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, said Chaiwut Lakmuang, assistant governor for sustainability management at Egat.

The biomass fuel should be certified using international standards to ensure it serves as a good alternative fuel, he said.

The two state agencies recently signed a memorandum of understanding to search areas suitable for growing the plants.

Egat aims to have biomass fuel replace 2% of coal used at its 300-megawatt Mae Moh power plant in the northern province of Lampang.

"This will be our important step to reduce CO2 emissions," said Mr Chaiwut.

"Growing plants can absorb CO2 and draw participation from local communities seeking new jobs and revenue."

Egat's subsidiary Electricity Generating Plc (Egco) is also using hydrogen as an alternative fuel at its gas-fired Linden Cogen Unit 6 in the US.

Under a hydrogen blending programme, the company adopted the combined combustion of both natural gas and off-gas, including hydrogen, at the 172-MW power plant in New Jersey.

Refinery off-gas is a mixture of gases generated during the refining of crude oil.

Linden Cogen Unit 6 uses off-gas containing hydrogen produced from an adjacent oil refinery and blends it with natural gas to fuel the power plant's gas turbine.

This enhances the overall operational efficiency of both the refinery and Linden Cogen while reducing overall CO2 emissions by around 10% of annual CO2 emissions from Linden Cogen Unit 6, Thepparat Theppitak, president of Egco, said earlier.

Hydrogen has also caught the interest of national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Egat and ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabia-based firm specialising in renewable energy, to co-develop green hydrogen and ensure its production is financially viable.

Green hydrogen, which can be used to fuel power generation and manufacturing processes, is produced by using electricity made from renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen.

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