On 4 March 2006, senior management of Chol Charoen Group, BIOTEC, and researchers from King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) hosted the visit of H.E. Dr. Pravit Ratanapian, Minister of Science and Technology to the Chol Charoen Starch Mill in Chonburi Province. The purpose of the visit was to observe the Anaerobic Fixed Film Reactor (AFFR) wastewater treatment system which was developed by BIOTEC and KMUTT researchers.
The high-rate anaerobic treatment system offer several advantages such as less land requirement, odor control, and a high removal of organic loading rate. In addition, the system can also aid in the mill’s dependent of fuel oil by using biogas. Eventually, the mill will be a ZERO fuel oil operated mill. The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) have plans to subsidize the construction of additional biogas demonstration projects for additional 12 cassava mills.
The design and construction, started in April 2004, is now completed with 2 treatment units at the capacity of 6,000 cubic meters each at the total investment of 42 million Baht (appr. USD 1 million). At the time of the visit, the treatment plant has been operated for 80 days and already demonstrated satisfactory results. At the moment, biogas generated from the wastewater can replace 70-80% of fuel oil, resulting in the energy cost saving of 100,000 Baht/day (USD 2,500/day). It is expected that by April 2006, the factory can use biogas to replace all the fuel oil and will save 20 million Baht/yr (USD 500,000 million). The company is hopeful to breakeven in 2-3 years. Click here to read more about this technology.