Friday, September 20, 2019

Planned biorefinery first step to ‘Biopolis’

Aug 22. 2019
Narong Sirilertworakul
Narong Sirilertworakul
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By THE NATION

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The National Science and Technology Development Agency will invest Bt3.4 billion in a pilot biorefinery in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (ECCi).

The aim is to add value from biological research to industrial manufacturing and create innovative products, while raising Thailand’s as a hub for bio-technology in Southeast Asia.

President Narong Sirilertworakul said the agency in charge of managing the EECi had arranged for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to lift the symbolic first shovel of soil next February 27 and construction of Phase 1A would be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

A significant aspect of the project is the development of a modern agricultural and the biorefinery industry to promote the benefits of both by mobilising a “Biopolis” – a city of innovation.

“We will set up the pilot plant at a scale similar to industrial manufacturing,” Narong said. “It will be able to handle many raw materials and produce diversified products. It will be certified with GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] standards for the production of consumed goods, such as nutrients and medical foods, and will be non-GMP for products with external use, such as biochemicals and bioplastic products.”

He said the biorefinery will cost Bt3.4 billion for both the GMP and non-GMP factories.

“We are now recruiting a consulting firm that will tackle engineering design. Construction is expected to start next year and operations can begin in 2022,” said Narong.

He said the plant will help establish a “circular economy” in Thailand and reduce environmental problems by turning waste into useful products.

“This pilot plant will be the first in Southeast Asia and will play a crucial role in developing biological technology in Thailand,” Narong said. “We also plan to expand by offering plants to other potential markets, such as the United States, South America and Africa, which will promote the role of Thailand in the field.”

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