The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation by National Science and Technology Development Agency, Khon Kaen University, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok in collaboration with Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand, signed a memorandum of understanding for Partnership Agreement among the founding institutes of Thailand Energy Storage Technology Alliance (TESTA).
The purpose is to establish alliances in developing storage technologies along its value chain. The event is presided over by Mr. Kittikorn Loh Sunthorn, Chairman of the Commission and Energy Commission, House of Representatives, with 5 executives from the founding institutes as witnesses. Speakers at the event included Professor M. Stanley Whittingham, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his invention of lithium-ion batteries, along with leading Thai battery users and producers such as GPSC, BANPUNEXT and Thonburi Energy Storage Manufacturing.
Mr. Kittikorn Loh Sunthorn, Chairman of the Commission and Energy Commission, House of Representatives, mentioned that the MOU signing ceremony for energy storage technology alliances in Thailand between the 5 organisations, helps strengthen and drive the domestic development of energy storage technology both in academia and industry. Energy storage system will play a vital role in propelling the transition in energy and industrial sectors within the country, especially in next-generation transport system. With Thailand’s goal to be the regional hub of electric vehicle manufacturing by 2025, with the target to produce 750,000 EVs within 2030, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Energy, and Ministry of Transport, are the leaders in carrying out the national strategies in national EV policies with stakeholders. Privilege and promotion activities have been provided to automotive and parts companies in domestic and overseas along with the plan to promote EV charging stations countrywide. The expectation in TESTA establishment is the first step of close collaboration between industry and research centres in order to create ecosystem for clean energy and EV industries towards a clean and affordable energy society.
Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, President of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) said that NSTDA places high importance on advanced researches and aims to be excellent in energy technology innovation. Energy storage has been one of the key technologies that NSTDA has been focussed on. It could enable the realisation of electric vehicles and higher penetration of clean renewable energy. With Thailand’s focus on moving towards a hub for electric vehicles in this region, it is recognisable that knowledge and knowhow in science and technology in Thailand is urgently needed. NSTDA is pleased to be taking a key part in linking between fundamental research results and bringing it to industries. An establishment of “Thailand Storage Technology Alliance” or TESTA with the goal in being a platform for collaboration in the area of energy storage for Thai stakeholders along with a platform to exchange and invite knowhow from international partners is expected to take a role in speeding up the advancement of Thai industries.
Prof. Dr. Thidarut Boonmars, Vice President for Innovation and Enterprise of Khon Kaen University stated that the university’s main expertise is to conduct research related to advanced materials for lithium ion batteries. In addition, the university provides a state-of-the-art facility for formulation testing and new components R&D for materials developers and manufacturers. KKU has operated the first Li-ion battery pilot plant in Thailand to increase the ability to translate scientific research into products, increase competences of students to serve enterprises, and create new local industrial initiatives through new innovations. Khon Kaen University is pleased to take part in the driving and supporting activities related to the advancement of renewable energy and electric vehicle industries in Thailand.
Associate Professor Somnoek Wisuttipaet, Vice President for Academic Services Development and Industrial Relations of King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB) stated that KMUTNB realises the importance of storage technology in the future. The university focuses on developing skills of students and personnel as well as creating new knowledge in the areas of battery technologies. Our staff from Sirindhorn International Thai-German Graduate School of Engineering (TGGS) are specialised in battery technology research and are well-known in the industry for a long time. TGGS has a strong collaboration with international experts such as RWTH Aachen University, Germany. The MOU can build on the existing collaborations with the co-founders, which is valuable to strengthen the energy storage industry in our country.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suvit Tia, President of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) said that the university promotes several projects related to energy research and development. For example, the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) programme provides high quality MSc. and Ph.D. workforce for industries. The Mobility & Vehicle Technology Research Center (MOVE) focuses on integrated works between lecturers, researchers, and students from various organisations. The Center aims to conduct research in modern automotive technology from lab-scale to commercialisation. In addition, the university plays a key role in the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT). KMUTT hopes the collaboration through TESTA will lead to substantial development and promotion of the use of energy storage systems in Thailand.
Mr. Krisada Uttamote, President of the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT) mentioned that the association realises that energy storage system is the crucial part of electric vehicles. In addition, environmentally sound management of end-of-life batteries from EVs need to be prepared for. EVAT is associated by government agencies, research institutes, universities, and private sectors with the goal to promote the production and use of electric vehicles in the country, as well as building sustainable transportation that is environmentally friendly. Developments of new technologies such as energy storage systems require multi-sector collaboration to take actions that lead to significant and concrete changes.
NSTDA, KKU, KMUTT, KMUTNB and EVAT are ready to collaborate in order to drive the development of storage technology in Thailand through science, research and innovation and to encourage every sector for generating socio-economic and environmental impacts propelling Thailand to a sustainable society.