In an ambitious move to become less dependent on fossil fuels, the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) of Thailand has declared its intention to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel.
The plan positions hydrogen as one of the main fuels in the power, transport, and industrial sectors, embracing its potential as a tool for power generation, fueling electric vehicles, and servicing manufacturing processes.
The Pilot Project: Towards a Cleaner Tomorrow
As part of the initiative, the EPPO plans to run a pilot project this year, leveraging hydrogen for electricity generation at a gas-fired power plant in Ayutthaya’s Wang Noi district, operated by the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. While the length of the trial period and other specifics remain under discussion, the determination to push forward with hydrogen fuel technology is clear.
The energy authorities intend to prioritize the power sector as the first beneficiary of this transition, with hydrogen expected to supplement 20% of fuel at the power plant by blending with gas to fuel electricity generators. The transport sector, specifically targeting large trucks, will follow. Concurrently, the EPPO is also exploring the possibility of using hydrogen in large factories that employ boilers in their production processes.
Hydrogen’s ability to support initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions is undergoing scrutiny in many countries. Sarath Prakobchart, Deputy Director-General of EPPO, underscores its potential to replace up to 20% of natural gas and liquefied natural gas, currently leading fuel sources for power generation in Thailand.
Blue Hydrogen: The Future Fuel
The Thai authorities have incorporated hydrogen fuel in a new national power development plan (PDP), slated to be effective from 2023 to 2037. By 2030, blue hydrogen – derived from natural gas with the CO2 produced during its extraction captured and stored – is projected to be commercially available for the power sector.
Adding another dimension to the quest for cleaner energy, the EPPO is also drafting a proposal for the next government to approve the 2023 PDP, which includes plans to utilize nuclear technology. A small modular reactor, with a maximum electricity generation capacity of 300 megawatts per module, forms the crux of this proposal.
While pushing for greener solutions, the government is also bracing for challenges, such as the anticipated increase in domestic diesel prices. A five-baht waiver of the diesel excise tax is set to expire on July 20, which will hike the retail price of diesel by 15%.
The move by Thailand to integrate hydrogen into its energy matrix marks an important step towards a greener, more sustainable future. As the nation’s vision for a cleaner, less fossil fuel-dependent future takes shape, the world watches, hoping to draw lessons for their own green transitions.