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Posted on  

July 15, 2002

Eight companies set to produce ethanol

Value of tapioca and molasses may rise

by Chatrudee Theparat

Eight private companies have received approval to produce 1.5 million litres of ethanol a day from plants representing a total investment of 6.48 billion baht.

Four of the companies will consume a total of 255,100 tonnes of molasses as raw materials in the next year. The molasses consumption of the projects was expected to gradually increase to 446,100 tons by 2011, according to Deputy Prime Minister Pitak Intrawithayanunt, chairman of the the National Energy Policy Committee.

The other four plants will use 326,400 tonnes of tapioca as raw material this year, with consumption rising to 2.09 million tons in 2011.

Mr Pitak said the projects could raise the value of tapioca and molasses, benefiting farmers, who would be allowed to have shares of up to 10% in six of the projects later.

Only two companies _ Pornwilai International Group and Sang Som Group _ have not invited growers to invest in their ethanol projects.

Five of those eight licensed companies are expected to start production this year with combined annual output of 114 million litres.

Of the total output, 16.5 million litres are expected to be exported.

Total production is expected to reach 500 million litres in 2011, of which 125 million litres would be exported.

Mr Pitak said all ethanol produced by the eight companies would be supplied to PTT Plc and Bangchak Petroleum Plc primarily as a substitute for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a fuel additive.

Thailand spends 4.4 billion baht a year to import the product.

Alternative fuel would be produced by blending ethanol with petrol in measures of 5.5% and 11%.



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