St1 completes pilot facility for ethanol from cassava pulp in Thailand

Cassava. Author: Chad Skeers. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

April 4 (Renewables Now) - Helsinki-based energy company St1 Nordic Oy yesterday said it has completed the construction of a pilot plant in Thailand that will trial its technology to produce advanced ethanol for transport from cassava pulp.

The facility is located at Ubon Bio Ethanol Ltd's starch and ethanol plant site in Ubon Ratchathani. It will be operated for a year in several starch factories to explore different environments, conditions and seasonal changes, St1 said.

The pilot phase will help prepare an investment proposal for a full-scale plant. The company ultimately aims to have up to 20 plants using its technology in Thailand with a total production capacity of 400 million litres (106 million gallons) of ethanol per year. It estimates the cassava waste from Thailand's largest starch plants would allow the construction of ethanol production units with annual capacity of 10 million-30 million litres.

Daechapon Lersuwanaroj, president of Ubon Bio Ethanol, Thailand, said if the pilot was successful, commercial plants could be rolled out to other domestic starch plants and nearby counties. "This development will add value to this by-product and improve the economics of cassava starch industry," Lersuwanaroj added.  

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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