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Issue 01/2018

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Thailand Thailand 4.0

Thailand Thailand 4.0 goes bio… Biobased chemicals, Biopolymers and Bioplastics in Thailand – Situation and outlook in 2018 In 2015 the Thai government has introduced a new economic growth model, called “Thailand 4.0”, aimed to pull the country out of the middle-income trap, and push Thailand up in the high-income range. With this concept Thailand is targeting to become a value-based and innovation-driven economy by changing from producing commodities to manufacturing innovative sustainable green products to promote technology and innovation development in certain industries. With this strategy Thailand is expected to be able to establish a new service-based economy. Under this model, ten industries are defined as the new economic growth motors. Bio-economy is one of these important future industries, utilizing Thailand’s rich biodiversity and strong chemical manufacturing industry. The bio-economy framework includes four different sectors which are agriculture and food, medical and public health, bio-energy, and bio-industries. For this purpose, the government is going to launch a 10-year plan to build Thailand as a bio-economy hub for the region with private and public-sector investment expected to reach USD 11.35 billion. Initial focus is on agriculture feedstock like sugarcane and cassava to feed modern bio-refineries that will produce biofuels and biochemical as well as biopharmaceuticals and advanced food and feed. In this initial stage, the target will be on development on the farming sector focussing on six cash crops which include sugar cane, cassava, rubber, rice, oil palm, and soybean. The first USD 1.44 billion phase of investment is set for 2018/19. The Thai government is expected to approve a proposed roadmap that is aimed to attract private sector investment to boost the agro-economy as well as interest in technology companies. Possibly the policy could be approved by the cabinet early in 2018 across 23 different state agencies, academia and the private sector in five main areas: ethanol, bioplastics, food, bioenergy and biopharmaceuticals. To achieve that goal these organisations signed a memorandum of understanding in 2017 to drive the bio-economy development. Discussions will include the decision, whether an industrial estate will be set up or not to accommodate the development of the bio-economy industry. As for investment in this development, the government plan in a first step to use the Eastern Economic Corridor site in Rayong province to promote large investment projects, linking with the development of target industries and transport infrastructure. Based on the feedstock sugar cane, biochemicals like biobased succinic acid (205,000 tonnes/year), 1,4-(bio)-BDO (100,000 tonnes/year) and lactic acid (330 ,000 tonnes/year) are targeted. From that raw materials PLA (250,000 tonnes/ year) and PBS (100,000 tonnes /year) are intended to be produced [1]. The necessary investment volume for such a bio-refinery complex has been estimated at USD 2.87 billion, beginning from 2018 onwards. Biochemicals, Biopolymers and Bioplastics have been in focus in Thailand for ten years now. [2] Thailand is one of a few countries in the world that have early introduced policy measures for biobased plastics to support sustainable biobased products and to create an innovative biobased industry. These policy measures were designed along the “National Roadmap for Bioplastics”, which were endorsed by the Thai government in 2008, Shutterstock: Gil.K 32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13

By: Wolfgang Baltus WobaltExpedition Consultancy Bangkok, Thailand Politics Magnetic for Plastics • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge when the implementation of this roadmap was assigned to C the National Innovation Agency (NIA, a public organisation). M The main advantages for Thailand of becoming Y a future biobased plastic hub in Southeast Asia CM are evident: • Potentially abundant, sugar- and starch-based feedstock CY are available at competitive cost; • A well-developed chemical industry (up- and downstream) is in place to support the production of biobased K materials; • Its location in Southeast Asia near China - the largest potential future customer - is strategically important, and Japan, as one of the most developed biobased countries, has a long-standing relationship to Thailand; The main targets of these measures within the roadmap included: • Realizing sufficient supply of biomass for raw materials to produce biobased plastics; • Stimulating and promoting technology development for biobased plastics and national and/or international cooperation along stakeholders; • Building up new innovative industries and businesses; • Establishing through the government a supportive infrastructure along the value chain for biobased plastics including policies and end-of-life strategies. An enhanced version of the roadmap in 2011-2015 has extended the activities by offering financial support in the implementation and operation of pilot plants to produce biobased polymers, and the introduction of suitable standards for biodegradable/compostable plastics as well. The NIA has supported and funded many innovative projects during its first years in operation including measures for policy-building and waste management project trials. One important result is that awareness of biobased plastics has grown significantly at industry, retailer and consumer levels. At present, the leading local players include the PTT Public Company, PTT Global Chemical Public Company, Thantawan Industry, Thai Plastic Bags Industries, Mitr Phol Group, Multibax, Global Biopolymers and Corbion. MY CMY • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13 33

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