A rapid rise in demand for bio-fuel is attributable to several basic reasons. These include concern over the shortage of fossil-based fuels and the need to reduce dependency on such fuels by turning to bio-fuel that is more environment friendly as it helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase farm income and support sustainable development of renewable energy. In Thailand, the processing of bio-fuel is heavily dependent palm oil, sugarcane and cassava, being our major food commodities, as raw materials. Using such food commodities may create underlying problems and long-term impacts on related food supply chains ahead. We at KResearch view that agricultural waste biomass can help alleviate such impacts while it is an environment friendly source to create value to the economy at a community level of over THB100 billion p.a. on average, with the condition that the collection system for remaining agricultural waste biomass in the country must be efficient.
To maximize the efficiency in converting agricultural waste into bio-fuel, cooperation from farmers in the collection of agricultural waste and government assistance scheme for farmers and the energy industry to help reduce rising costs during the initial phase of their projects are required. Once a systematic agricultural waste collection and more efficient processing technologies are in place, it is expected that both farmers and the energy industry will be able to rely less on food commodities as raw materials and the government assistance scheme later on.
KResearch is of the view if Thailand can adopt advanced technologies that can convert agricultural waste into bio-fuel for commercial purposes, this may significantly help reduce our dependency on food commodities for bio-fuel production, generate more income from agricultural waste for many farmers, such as rice rubber and eucalyptus growers, and stimulate economic growth.