Biofuels to spur investments of B114bn
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Biofuels to spur investments of B114bn

National oil plan looks at impact of shift to cleaner fuels for transport

A worker fills a pickup with biodiesel B20 at a Bangchak petrol station in Bangkok. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A worker fills a pickup with biodiesel B20 at a Bangchak petrol station in Bangkok. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Biofuels, including gasohol and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), are expected to help generate new investment worth 114 billion baht in the oil business over the next 13 years as Thailand shifts towards cleaner fuels, according to a revised national oil plan.

Authorities previously planned to promote gasohol E20, a mix of 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline, as a primary fuel for motorists, replacing the popular gasohol E10, which contains 10% ethanol. This shift faced several delays resulting from high ethanol prices.

In a public hearing on the revised plan, ethanol producers and sugar cane farmers on Friday expressed support for the government’s ongoing consideration of using gasohol E20 as a primary fuel.

The new plan will cover the period from 2024 to 2037. The public consultation period runs until July 12.

Though the price of gasohol E20 is high, it can reduce dependence on fossil fuel-derived gasoline, thus helping the country cut carbon dioxide emissions, said Jetsada Wongwatanasin president of the Thai Ethanol Manufacturing Association.

Greater use of ethanol will enable 27 local ethanol producers to increase capacity utilisation and generate more revenue for growers of sugar cane, a raw material, he said.

The Department of Energy Business is awaiting the results of a study on the beneficiaries of gasohol E20 becoming a primary fuel before making a decision by September, said director-general Sarawut Kaewtathip.

The data is being compiled by businesses in the ethanol supply chain.

In the diesel category, biodiesel B7, a blend containing 7% palm oil-derived methyl ester, will continue to be a primary fuel, following talks with automakers, oil traders and palm farmers, according to the new oil plan.

Energy officials plan to promote the use of SAF in the aviation industry by increasing production under a cooperation arrangement between Bangchak Corporation and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The oil plan calls for the creation of a working panel to consider using sugar cane and cassava as raw materials for the production of SAF, in addition to used cooking oil, which is internationally certified as an acceptable raw material.

In marine transport, the oil plan promotes use of a low-sulphur fuel oil called B24 VLSFO for ships transporting goods internationally, said Patteera Saiptatumtip, deputy director-general of the department.

B24 VLSFO comprises 24% used cooking oil methyl ester and 76% very low sulphur fuel oil, known as VLSFO.

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