The Thai Eastern Group Holdings, a giant in rubber and palm oil production in Thailand, converts discarded palm empty fruit bunches and palm oil residues into biogas. This biogas is used as a substitute for the previously employed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in power generation, resulting in a 48% reduction in production costs for the company. The initiative not only earned them the 2023 Thailand Energy Awards from the Thai Ministry of Energy but also secured them the second-place recognition in the 2023 ASEAN Energy Awards.
The Thai Eastern Group has chosen its factory located in Chonburi Province to carry out a renewable energy development project. In this initiative, the waste palm empty fruit bunches and palm oil residues generated during the palm oil production process are converted into biogas. This biogas serves as fuel for the drying of rubber blocks, replacing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Simultaneously, the electricity generated from this biogas can be sold to the Provincial Electricity Authority, providing an additional source of income for the company.
The company's biogas fuel generator. (Photo: Thai Eastern Group Holdings)
Kongkit Koknutaporn, the CEO of the Energy Management Department at Thai Eastern Bio Power Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Thai Eastern Group, stated that following the implementation of the project, the company has successfully reduced fuel costs. Currently, the annual production of biogas reaches 928,363 cubic meters, replacing liquefied petroleum gas used in the rubber drying process, amounting to 427,052.5 kilograms annually.
The investment cost for this project is approximately $110,000, with a high return rate of 48.70%. The company anticipates recovering the investment in just over two years. In terms of environmental impact, the project is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 1,304.48 metric tons.
Kongkit emphasized that reusing discarded materials and transforming them into alternative energy sources contributes to ongoing environmental mitigation. The company's goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The Thai Eastern Group is a major player in natural rubber and palm oil production in the eastern region of Thailand and serves as a bioenergy flagship enterprise in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Its primary business activities include the production and sale of natural rubber, palm oil, renewable energy, and the management of organic residues. The company's green energy initiatives have received recognition from the Thai Ministry of Energy, securing an Outstanding Award in the off-grid alternative energy category. Chamnan Kaiprasit, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency, personally led a media tour to showcase the company's achievements.