Biorefinery Pilot Plant
The biorefinery industry is the processing of biomass by physical, chemical and/or biological processes to acquire various types of bio-based products such as biochemical products, biomaterials, and biological substances that provide special properties for production as supplementary foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Thailand is a promising location for the development of biorefinery industry as a mechanism for economic growth. The main advantage is the availability of primary materials, especially starch, sugar, oil and agricultural waste that are rich in lignocellulose. However, the development of technological innovations in bio-base products requires pilot scale-up production due to the facts that:
1) Investment in the bio-based industry requires a technological and economic feasibility assessment, where only laboratory-level data is not enough to achieve accurate assessment results.
2) Development and selection of suitable technology for process engineering cannot conducts at the laboratory level due to limitations of each tools.
3) It requires numerous production stages to process toward end-product. The lack of scale-up production facility in the initial process will cause the insufficient production amounts of the substance for raw material in the next step which lessen the opportunity to further develop into value-added and high-value products.
However, investing in one pilot plant requires a very high investment. Therefore, the Eastern Economic Corridor Innovation (EECi) is established “Biorefinery Pilot Plant” as a platform for scaling up biorefinery production processes. This world-class facility is capability to apply various type of raw materials, processes, and products; from upstream process such as biomass fractionation process, bioprocess, as well as the separation process to harvest the products produced (downstream process). The pilot plant has a system designed with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) to support the research and development of food and Cosmeceutical products, including functional ingredient, nutraceutical and functional food; the non-GMP system supports research and development of other biochemical products sand biospecialty. Equipped with 15,000 liters GMP standard fermentor, enable the pilot plant to supports the production of trail products for market testing.
The Biorefinery Pilot Plan is an anchor center within EECi BIOPOLIS as an infrastructure invested with aim to close the gap of the valley of death in innovation. This disruptive technology will drive laboratory scale research toward commercializable products and enhance competitiveness for both existing and new Thai entrepreneurs. Creating added value for agricultural products which is crucial sector of Thai economy and to move away from middle-income trappings to becoming a high-income country.