Thai Oleochemicals Company and Thai Fatty Alcohols Company have jointly commissioned Uhde to build a turnkey plant complex for the combined production of biodiesel (methyl ester) and fatty alcohols at Map Ta Phut, an industrial location some 150km south-east of Bangkok.
The contract is for a 200,000 tonne-per-year methyl ester plant and a fatty alcohol plant with an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The scope of the contract includes the engineering, the supply of all materials and equipment, the construction and supervisory services. The contract is worth some EUR95 million.
The methyl ester plant will be based on a process licensed by AT Agrar-Technik of Schlaitdorf (near Stuttgart in Germany), while the fatty alcohol production process will be supplied by Düsseldorf-based Cognis Deutschland. A key feature of AT Agrar-Technik's esterification process is its flexibility with respect to the feedstocks which can be used, allowing a variety of oil-bearing plants, animal oils and fats and old vegetable oils to be processed. The main feedstock for the new plant complex is to be palm oil from Thailand and other South-East Asian countries. The processing of used cooking oils in the plant is also planned for the future. The methyl ester plant is due to come on-stream in late 2007, followed by the commissioning of the fatty alcohol plant in January 2008.
Investment by Thai Oleochemicals Company in this biodiesel plant fits in with the Thai Ministry of Energy's plans to achieve a sustainable increase in the production of biodiesel from replenishable resources and, in the long term, to reduce imports of diesel and other fuels. The fatty alcohols will be used in the production of cosmetics, detergents and cleaning agents.