PTT, TRF, Chulalongkorn University, SCG Chemicals, IRPC, Global Green Chemical, and TPK Ethanol are the alliance members pushing forward the CAT-REAC Industrial Project. It is expected to improve production efficiency, extend lifespan, and reduce costs for importing catalysts and absorbents in biodiesel and ethanol industries.
On 9 January 2018, the Thailand Research Fund, Chulalongkorn University, PTT Public Company Limited, SCG Chemicals Co.., Ltd., IRPC Public Company Limited, Global Green Chemical Public Company Limited, and TPK Ethanol Co., Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding in the CAT-REAC Industrial Project at Novotel Bangkok.
Prof. Suthipun Jitpimolmard, Director of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), said that the initial phase of the project will take three years. TRF will sponsor the research fund of 15 million baht, with 7.3 million baht support from private organizations annually. The first phase of this project will require 66.9 million baht in total and will be a preparation for catalyst development for domestic use, which is expected to cut expenses in Thai industries by at least 100 million baht a year.
Ms. Duangporn Thiengwatanatham, Executive Vice President of PTT Innovation Institute, formerly known as “PTT Research & Technology Institute,” said that the institute has conducted research and experiments on catalysts and absorbents for PTT Gas Separation Plant and its affiliates from 2013 to 2017. The research findings have helped reduce import costs and losses due to consumption of low quality catalysts and absorbents by over 240 million baht.
The Institute is pleased to support the CAT-REAC Industrial Project in order to gather in-depth knowledge about the catalysts being used at present, as well as the direction for catalyst research in the future. This will increase the competitiveness of Thai industries by improving production efficiency, extending lifespan, and reducing impost costs of catalysts and absorbents. The pilot test will be conducted in biodiesel and ethanol industries. This is a milestone innovation in which agricultural products are used in place of imported fuels. The collaboration is in the form of open innovation among government and private sectors, research institute, and university. The outcome will be a great contribution to the country and drive Thailand towards becoming a nation of sustainable innovation according to the Thailand 4.0 policy.
Mr. Jirawat Nuritanon, Managing Director of Global Green Chemical Public Company Limited (GGC) added that in this collaboration, GCC will benefit from the research findings on catalysts in its general process as well as information on how to utilize biodiesel to develop high value-added products for its key products, which are methyl ester or biodiesel. This will give Thailand’s oleochemical business an edge in moving ahead.
Currently, GGC is building the second methyl ester plant on a 30-rai plot of land in the Thai Eastern Industrial Zone. The company has invested 1.65 billion baht for the construction. The plant is expected to be ready for operation for commercial purposes in the 3rd quarter of 2018, faster than the previously scheduled 4th quarter . The production capacity in this new plant is 200,000 tons/year. In combination with the first plant in Rayong, GGC will be able to produce 500,000 tons of methyl ester a year.
As for the progress of the 7-billion baht Bio Complex Project – Phase 1 in Nakhon Sawan, in which GGC co-invests with Kaset Thai International Sugar Corporation Public Company Limited, the project will be proposed to the board of directors for approval in the 3rd quarter this year. The construction is expected to commence on the 4th quarter of the same year and take three years to complete.
In addition, GGC is also planning to invest in the second phase of the Bio Complex in the same area for biochemical fuel and bioplastic production. The second phase will begin after the construction of the first phase is completed and is expected to take 2-3 years to complete.