‘Transformer oil from palm’ – innovation to add value to Thai oil palm.

Key research projects under the support of the Bio-energy, Bio-chemicals and Biomaterials subcommittee, Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) in accordance with the Science, Research and Innovation Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027, under Strategy 1 for economic development of Thailand with value-creating economy and creative economy to have the ability to compete and be sustainably self-reliant, ready for future growth by leveraging science, research and innovation. The main emphasis is placed on supporting research funding to develop technology and
innovation to create economic value of bio-products, converting agricultural products or by-products from production or consumption, as well as creating the economic value for clean energy, renewable energy and bio-energy. This includes supporting research to develop the production industry for bio-fuel, bio-plastic, bio-chemicals, and bio-energy to produce electricity, replacing coal or natural gas; and developing technologies for capturing and converting carbon dioxide into high-value materials and chemicals. In addition, the Energy subcommittee also has a mission to develop standards and methodology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and certification of carbon credits, etc. The research work has benefited from intense support from the Energy subcommittee, which consists of
experts with knowledge and expertise contributing to the grant evaluation. There is empirical evidence indicating the readiness of appropriate technologies receiving funding support to ensure proper selection of technologies and innovations from research, leading to wide-spread practical applications and truly enhancing the country’s overall competitiveness.

One example of a research project on the development of bio-energy from Thai economic crops is palm oil, which is a project to develop bio-based transformer oil from palm oil and an integrated pilot field test while pushing for sustainable commercial use. Dr. Bunyawan Yoosuk, Head of Fuel Technology Research Team at National Energy Technology Center (ENTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency, is the project leader. This project is a top-down project to which the energy subcommittee pays great attention. It is the starting point for extending the utilization and adding value to palm oil in line with government policy on driving the bio-economy-circular economy- green economy (BCG in Action). It is part of the sub-plan on development of biochemical energy and
biodegradable plastics with the goal of expanding the strategic industry, laying the foundation for economic development under the concept of Bio-Circular-Green Economy : BCG Economy.

This project has received cooperation from many sectors, all of which are the main organizations involved in the transformer oil industry, including those who have the potential to produce and sell bio-based transformer oil, namely PSP Specialties Public Company Limited (PSP Specialties PCL), Global Green Chemicals Public Co. Ltd. and Charoenchai Electrical Transformers Co.,Ltd. The country’s main users of electricity transformers are the 3 branches of Electricity Authority including the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), joining effort with the country’s product standardization agencies in an integrated collaboration that drives research to promote a commercial application of
bio-based transformer oil from palm oil in Thailand.

PSP Specialties PCL serves as an excellent example and a role model for entrepreneurs who focus on research and development to create energy products from alternative energy sources, helping to make Thailand a leader in innovative energy production technologies. This will help Thailand reduce dependence on imported transformer oil products from foreign countries.

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