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The Launch of Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant (BBAPP)

Post Date : 4 April 2022

Thailand and ASEAN’s first pilot plants to develop and scale up sustainable biobased products and processes.

March 29, 2022 – Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP), Belgium and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand announce the launch of Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant (BBAPP), a multi-purpose biorefinery pilot plant. The Facility is built on “Biopolis”, a translational research hub for biobased industry, situated at the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi), Thailand.

Thailand is one of the top producers and exporters of sugarcane, cassava, oil palm and many other agricultural products. More than 40 million tons of biomass are currently under-utilized. This gap presents ample opportunity for biorefinery technology that enables the conversion of biomass to energy, chemicals and biomaterials, significantly raising the value of these crops and their by-products.

Prof. Wim Soetaert, CEO of Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant said “The Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant is the first of its kind in Thailand and ASEAN countries with a unique mission to develop and scale up sustainable biobased products and processes.” This pilot-scale infrastructure aims to provide a platform for local and international private and public organizations and academic institutions to scale up and validate their laboratory processes, perform the techno-economic assessment and facilitate market entry before investing in a dedicated production plant.

“BBEPP and NSTDA have been collaborating to set up the Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant as a joint-venture with shared financial and technological resources, in order to leverage the best of both parties” said Dr. Narong Sirilertworakul, President of NSTDA. The Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration for Establishing the Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant in Thailand was signed on November 12, 2019. “The complementarity of the partners will provide our customers with a world-class facility and technologies which are among one of the best in the industries in ASEAN” said Dr. Somvong Tragoonrung, Chairman of the Board of Directors, BBAPP.

BBEPP is a world-class service provider for process development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of biobased products and processes. Famously known for its wide and flexible spectrum of modular unit operations, BBEPP facility enables the translation of biobased lab processes into a viable industrial process. BBEPP’s unique expertise, technologies and successful business model are among the many contributions to the Joint-Venture activities. NSTDA, through the investment of the Thai Government, funds the investment of the facility and equipment and contributes its established existing platform for biobased process and product development using locally abundant resources. NSTDA also contributes its customer base through its broad contact network.

Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant consists of two separate pilot facilities for non-GMP and GMP activities. The non-GMP facility serves the industry that is active in biochemicals, biomaterials and other relevant bioproducts, while the GMP facility will focus on applications in food, feed, cosmetics and nutraceuticals. The services broadly cover biomass pretreatment, industrial biotechnology (microbial fermentation and biocatalysis), green chemistry and downstream processing operations to transform low-value biomass raw materials into a wide range of high-value bioproducts.

The Bio Base Asia Pilot Plant is currently under construction and will be fully operational in 2024.