February 10, 2014 00:00 By Jutarat Tipnampa The Nation
Operators of a biomass plant in Roi Et that generates electricity have eased local villagers' initial concerns by producing hazard-free emissions after its launch.
Successful operation of the pilot plant, developed and promoted by the National Innovation Agency, has attracted the interest of businessmen, who are considering launching biomass electricity-generating plants in Chaiyaphum and Chiang Mai.
An NIA-licensed Bt100 million biomass electricity-generating plant is also under construction in Sendai in Japan.
The Roi Et plant, which has a minimum output volume of 300 kilowatts, is owned and operated by Salakphet Renewable Energy.
The company’s managing director, Sathitchai Chimsa, said villagers had accepted the plant and received income from selling garbage to help provide the fuel for its operation.
The plant’s gasification process produces emissions that are more environmentally friendly than plants that rely on charcoal or bunker oil, which discharge hazardous emissions. However, the construction cost is higher compared to the latter plants.
Sathitchai said the Roi Et plant would begin selling power to the Provincial Electricity Authority next month and generate about Bt30 million a year in revenue.
Muang district village leader Somnuek Harntrai said Salakphet Renewable Energy needed to prove the plant would not discharge hazardous emissions in the long run, as it had promised.
“The mist, smoke or water discharge from the plant will decide whether the operation can continue,” he said.
NIA senior official Amphon Arphathanakorn said about 100 megawatts of power was needed each month to meet demand in the northeastern province.
He said that while the plant currently only produced up to 500 kilowatts, output could be doubled.
The NIA is setting up a Clean Energy Innovation Centre to study and develop solar energy and wind-driven power generating plants.
The centre is developing a new Bt120 million power-generating plant with a maximum output of one megawatt that will rely on hybrid technology, using all three sources of energy.
The centre will also give advice and technical support to companies interested in producing clean, renewable electricity through biomass or other technologies.
Companies will receive help with blueprints for clean-energy plants, consultancy during construction, plus technical advice and maintenance in the first two years of operation.
The centre will also provide training and operation demonstrations and hold exhibitions of clean-energy technology from around the world.