Thailand’s Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo) prepping hydrogen pilot project

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Thailand’s Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo) prepping hydrogen pilot project

Gases to be blended to fuel electricity generators at plant run by Egat in Ayutthaya

Energy officials plan to push ahead with hydrogen fuel development in an effort to make it one of the main fuels used in the power, transport and industrial sectors, with the aim of becoming less dependent on fossil fuels, says the Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo).

The office plans to run a pilot project this year using hydrogen for electricity generation at a gas-fired power plant, operated by state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, in Ayutthaya’s Wang Noi district, said Sarath Prakobchart, deputy director-general of Eppo.

The length of the trial period and other details about the project have yet to be discussed.

Eppo said the power sector would be the first to utilise hydrogen as a fuel source, followed by the transport sector, with a focus on large trucks.

The office is also in talks with manufacturers regarding the possibility of using hydrogen in large factories that use boilers in their production processes.

Hydrogen can be used as a fuel to generate power, to run fuel cells for electric vehicles, and serve manufacturing processes in industries such as steelmaking and cement production, according to the World Bank.

Under the pilot project, hydrogen, a by-product from oil refineries, would make up 20% of fuel at the power plant. It would be blended with gas to fuel electricity generators.

Mr Sarath said energy authorities in many countries are carrying out tests to see how hydrogen can support campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Hydrogen has the potential to replace 20% of the natural gas and liquefied natural gas currently used as leading sources of fuel for power generation in Thailand, he said.

Authorities included hydrogen fuel in a new national power development plan (PDP), scheduled to take effect from 2023 to 2037. Blue hydrogen is projected to be available for commercial use in the power sector by 2030, according to Eppo.

Blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas. Carbon dioxide produced when the hydrogen is separated from the gas would be captured and stored.

Eppo is preparing to ask the next government to approve the 2023 PDP, which also covers a plan to utilise nuclear technology to increase use of cleaner energy.

A small modular reactor, with maximum electricity generation capacity of 300 megawatts per module, would be the focus of this plan.

In another development, Eppo was told by the government to brace for an increase in domestic diesel prices, as the five-baht waiver of the diesel excise tax is scheduled to end on July 20.

The expiration will raise the retail price of diesel by 15%, up from around 32 baht a litre at present.