Executive summary

Executive summary

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the economic growth of developing countries (such as Thailand) is important for the global environment. Japanese and Thai research groups have been collaborating to develop low-carbon technologies that exploit the natural advantages of Thailand – including organic solar cells, biofuels from woody biomass, upgrading clean coal and land-use changes. Furthermore, low-carbon energy scenarios have been discussed with the stakeholders in Thailand based on life cycle analysis and the developed technologies. As a result of the joint project, in 2012 the research team will present two scenarios (moderate and accelerated) out to 2030 driving towards a low-carbon society in Thailand. Participating institutes are King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (TH), Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (TH), Chulalongkorn University (TH), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (JP) , the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (JP) and Kyoto University (JP).

Energy scenario has been developed in order to reduce GHG emissions in 2030. The information from organic PV, clean coal, CIGS and 2nd generation biofuel is collected in order to foresee the optimum GHG reduction through energy supply from technological point of view. The land use reduction potential through various rainfed cultivation system also being considered in the model. Green and Blue scenario then developed based on its possibility of each technology’s penetrations in the market.

Clean coal technology, to develop clean coal technologies for effective use of the Thai lignite. Then new dewatering and upgrading method of brown coal and biomass that utilize thermal degradation in a non-polar solvent was proposed.

2nd generation Biofuel, some analytical method are not entirely applicable to analyzed other biomass species for bioenergy production. The group proposed an analytical method which applicable to all biomass species. In addition, further biomass species will be collected and a revised new method will be applied to characterize those biomass in their chemical composition. The results will be reported in the second year of the project.

Solar group, analyzing the use of titanium oxide nanofibers Leucoxene produced in Thailand and using an electrode for dye-sensitized solar cell, the cell characteristics then evaluated. CIGS solar cell technology for performance evaluation will be based on future joint research carried out to confirm the integrity of both the evaluation of technical equipment.

LCA group, assessing the environmental impact of the current Thai’s power plant, such as natural gas, hydro and coal. Some other renewable energy also being assesd within Thailand boundaries, such as PV, mini hydro and various biomass production (both biofuel and biodiesel).

Rainfed rice cultivation group, The research project investigates the effects of introducing upland crop rotation in the fallow period of rainfed rice on the net emissions of GHG. Parts of harvested crops or their residues are utilized for bio-energy production. The benefit of the rotation system for mitigating GHG emissions is quantitatively evaluated. The closed chamber method had been used the amount of CO2, CH4, N2O fluxes can be measured and quantified. The research mostly carries out in Thailand and the conclusion can be done in both countries.

Country Background

In the wake of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s northeast, radiation has been the next menace after the failure of the cooling system at the nuclear power complex in Fukushima Prefecture.  In the past couple of years Thailand government has drawn the Power Development Plan (PDP) by EGAT (state owned company), which includes the plan to build five nuclear power plants in 2020, after the wake Thai government then reviewing its plan by excluding nuclear power plant.

The development of non-nuclear energy sources then becomes appealing for the next development as Thailand has the highest GDP per capita among the GMS (Great Mekong Sub region) countries [1]. The vast development of the country economic will bring the competitiveness as part of the global economic development, the country development mainly supported by the remarkable progress of industrial sector. The economic growth not only brings the country to the industrial era but also makes the country to be one of the biggest GHG emitter in South East Asia (second highest after Indonesia)[2].

GHG in the atmosphere is the main potential substance for changing the climate pattern globally. Moreover, Thailand government had signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, in June 1992, then ratified the Convention in March 1995. The country obviously considers the climate change as one of the major factor alongside with the economic development.

The country economic indicator, energy and CO2 emission show parallel increase in the period of 2003-2007[3], the GDP per capita increase from 54,980 THB (US$ 1,643) in 2003 and reached 67,334 THB (US$ 2,013) in 2007. The final energy consumption per capita also increases up to 14.8 per cent from the year 2003 to year 2007, while the electricity consumption also increases almost 25 per cent in the same period. Furthermore, the CO2 in the country also shows increases figure from 171million tons to 190 million tons of CO2.The correlation between the increases of country energy consumption, economic development and CO2 emission are strong, therefore the immediate action should taken into action in order to keep the development of its country economic while maintaining as low as possible its CO2 emission.

According to ONEP (Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning)[4], the highest sectoral share of the GHG emission are coming from energy and agriculture, which accounted 56 and 24 per cent respectively. The industrial process accounted 5.4 per cent while land use and forestry accounted little bit higher. The sector of agro industry and forestry combined accounted in more than 30 per cent (considering the change of the land use from agro to other), therefore the assessment on this sector is very important. Waste also contributes relative high, by contributing 8 per cent from the total GHG emission in the country. The emission generated from energy (including power plant, transportation and heat) remains high in the future in line with the continuous growing of Thai economics.

Power generation contributes the highest percentage of the increases of GHG in the country. The power sector responsible 75 per cent of the total increase of the GHG followed by transportation sector (20.6 per cent). Moreover, the other sectors such as agriculture and buildings (commercial and residential) responsible on the remaining percentage.

The history of GHG emission in the country is not particularly in line with the direction of the increases or decreasing of its energy sector. The evidences show that the power sector responsible for more than 40 per cent. The historical data shows that during the crisis, the residential energy and GHG emission remain increases while other sectors such as transportation, industrial and commercial sector remain steady (even negative growth).

According to the country future projection on energy in 2020[5] the energy demand reaches 92 Mtoe (almost double from 2000 figure) as 35 per cent from transportation sector, 32.5 from industrial sector and 18 per cent from residential sector. Moreover the GHG figures for power sector is responsible for 53.8 per cent, 26.3 per cent from transport and 15.4 per cent accounted from industrial sector.


[1] World Bank, 2007, Thailand country report ,  available online at http://web.worldbank.org/

[2] Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (UNFCCC report), 2000, Thailand’s initial national communication, available online at http://unfccc.int/national_reports/non-annex_i_natcom/items/2979.php

[3] Energy strategy for competitiveness, 2003, available online at http://www.eppo.go.th/doc/strategy2546/strategy.html

[4] Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), 2009, available online at http://www.onep.go.th/onep_en/

[5] Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (UNFCCC report), 2000, Thailand’s initial national communication, available online athttp://unfccc.int/national_reports/non-annex_i_natcom/items/2979.php

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