Kasetsart, PTT and Toyota seek new source of biodiesel
14/7/06 (The Nation) - Toyota Group and PTT Plc will share research with Kasetsart University to find new raw material for biodiesel, focusing on jatropha oil.
Toyota Motor Thailand Co Ltd, Toyota Technical Centre Asia Pacific (Thailand) Co Ltd and PTT Plc inked a memorandum of understanding with Kasetsart University late on Thursday on a "Collaborative and Development Project on Jatropha Biodiesel for Diesel Vehicles".
The firms will give the university financial support of Bt33 million, Bt15 million from Toyota and Bt18 million from PTT.
Palm oil is the main raw material for biodiesel.
TMT president Ryoichi Sasaki said his company would produce more vehicles with engines suitable for biodiesel if the research succeeded.
PTT executive vice president Chalermsak Juntaro said his company had put up Bt18 million to evaluate the performance of various engine systems.
PTT will supply lubricants and necessary parts from its research laboratory as well as technology and experience.
PTT's plant producing biodiesel 100 ("B100") will operate in the third quarter of next year at a production capacity of 600,000 litres a day.
The research project will focus on jatropha oil because being inedible it is cheap and stably priced.
Jatropha is a rapidly growing plant with 80 per cent unsaturated fat.
The research objective is to study jatropha seeds to determine the species which best suits the local climate and is resistant to pests and disease.
If this is successful, Chalermsak said, jatropha will become an economic crop reducing oil imports and encouraging higher consumption of domestic fuel, which will lead to employment growth and sustainable development.
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