The country’s alternative energy development plan (2011-2025) has set a target of alternative energy use at 20% by 2025 so that Thailand can use alternative energy as a major source of energy instead of imported oil. Therefore, NSTDA is focusing on R&D of energy and environment technology to provide solutions to the country’s alternative energy needs.
There are 3 research programs:
The Sustainable Environment Program
The program aims to promote and support research that evaluates and indicates energy use capability and environmental impact of materials, products and organizations as well as the effects on the country. An environmental database has been created for Thailand’s basic materials and energy so that it can be used as a reference source when evaluating and developing environment-friendly products such as when evaluating carbon footprints and water footprints (WP), when doing a life cycle assessment (LCA) or an eco-efficiency assessment.
The program’s operation plans include:
1. Doing LCI and GHG inventory for the country’s food and agricultural sectors.
2. Analyzing carbon footprint values of key food and agricultural products.
3. Supporting the creation of a sustainable carbon footprint assessment system that is in line with international standards.
4. Analyzing water footprint values of key food and agricultural products.
5. Doing R&D work on material flow accounting of materials that are the country’s major resources.
6. Pushing for an environmental impact assessment method that is acceptable and can be applied to eco-efficiency (for the SD index) and externalities (external costs).
The Resource and Energy Efficiency Program
The program aims to do R&D work on resource management technology, do R&D work to increase energy use efficiency as well as treating and managing production waste from the industrial sector and doing R&D work to increase energy use efficiency in the transportation sector, and in buildings both commercial and residential. Key operation plans include:
1. Increasing energy efficiency in the industrial sector, focusing on the rice, tapioca and rubber industries.
2. Managing industrial waste such as heat, solid waste, waste water to turn it into energy.
3. Increasing energy use efficiency in the transportation sector.
4. Increasing energy use efficiency in commercial residential buildings.
5. Applying IT system to managing energy.
6. Conducting research on energy and resource management policies.
The Renewable Energy and New Technology Research Program
The program supports R&D work on technology involved in creating renewable energy that has an impact on the economy. The objectives are to create energy security for the country, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce technology imports and to increase the competitive capability of the country’s renewable energy production industries. Key operation plans include:
Applied Research for Short- and Mid-term Impact on the Economy
1. Biomass quantity increases for energy production.
2. Efficiency improvement and development of the first-generation biofuel production system (ethanol + biodiesel) for sustainable use.
3. Electricity production from biomass fuel/community waste.
4. Biogas production efficiency improvement.
5. Using heat from solar energy to produce hot water and dry agricultural products.
Basic Research and New Energy Technology Research that Have a Long-term Impact on the Economy
1. Future biofuel and green products for engines.
2. Solar energy power generation system.
3. Carbon capturing and storage technology.