Thai Energy Leader Embraces Algae-based Biofuel
September 4, 2012
he Bangkok Post reports that Public Company Limited (PTT), Thailand’s national oil and gas conglomerate, expects that algae-based biofuel will be commercially viable by 2017 at the price of US $150 per barrel, according to chief executive Dr. Pailin Chuchottaworn. Within that date algae-based petrol could be able to compete with fossil oil, which is expected to hit $150 per barrel, Dr Pailin told a forum at the second Asia-Oceania Algae Innovation Summit, in Bangkok.
“Although the price of algae biofuel is (currently) two to three times higher than fossil fuels, in the future we are going to have economy-of-scale production and appropriate strains for biofuel production,” said Dr. Pailin.
PTT has teamed up with leading universities, the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technology Research (TISTR) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency developing algae biofuel since 2008. In 2010, the alliance selected more than 1,000 algae strains from domestic fresh water sources as well as from the sea. That group has been shortlisted to 14 appropriate strains for further development.
Dr. Pailin said that last year PTT allocated 250 million baht ($8 million USD) for an algae plantation in Rangsit with targeted production of 100,000 litres. The site is intended to be a regional center for algae cultivation with research focusing not only on biofuel, but on by-products such as animal feed, food supplements, antioxidants and pigments.
PTT’s algae biofuel research and development project has been allocated a budget of 20 billion baht ($642 million USD) between 2012 and 2016. The R&D budget accounts for 3% of the group’s capital expenditure of 720 billion baht ($23 billion USD) during the five-year period.