EECi biorefinery project almost 50% complete

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The Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) project is 45 per cent complete and will be ready for operation by June 2021, EECi director Jengrit Khanatharana, who is also the National Science and Technology Development Agency deputy director, said.

The project area will cover 3,454 rai in Rayong.

“In the first phase of the EECi, we will focus on establishing model biorefineries that will turn agricultural produce and leftovers into biofuel and bio-plastic palettes, an important raw material for many bioproducts,” he said.

“We expect the bio-refinery to help reduce reliance on petrochemical materials and reduce the environmental impact due to the increasing use of bioproducts,” Jengrit said.

“Biorefineries will revolutionise Thailand’s industrial sector for the second time after the first 30 years ago, when we started a petrochemical industry in the Eastern region, which resulted in significantly lower prices of petrochemical products that we used to import,” he said.

“The EECi project is expected to yield similar results. It will enable Thailand to produce a new type of biochemical to serve the needs of several industries and drive us to become a bioindustry leader in the future.”

Jengrit said there will be two biorefineries, a GMP certified one and a non-GMP one.

“The GMP certified refinery will manufacture biochemicals that are used by the food, drug and cosmetic sectors, while the non-GMP refinery will manufacture biochemicals that have no direct contact with the human body,” he said. “When complete, the project’s biorefineries will be the most state-of-the-art in Asean, as currently only Malaysia has a biorefinery that processes oil palm, while our refineries can process all kinds of agricultural produce.

“The EECi’s model biorefineries are developed under cooperation with a partner in Belgium, which has expertise in the biorefinery field, and are expected to be operational by March-May 2021. They are also in compliance with the government’s BCG economy policy, which includes a bioeconomy, circular economy, and green economy,” he added.