SCG Chemicals Plc (SCGC) is preparing to jointly develop a bio-based ethylene factory in Thailand to produce plastic materials made from plants, as part of efforts to focus more on eco-friendly manufacturing.
The facility will start making bio-ethylene, a major feedstock used for making bio-based polyethylene, in 2025.
Commonly known as PE, polyethylene is a type of plastic used for making a variety of products, including packaging materials and bottles.
The factory, which will be built in the Map Ta Phut area of Rayong, will have a production capacity of 200,000 tonnes a year, said Tanawong Areeratchakul, president of SCGC.
Bio-based PE plastic is made of plants, including sugar cane. Because the plants are renewable resources, this form of plastic production is considered to be sustainable.
The factory will play an important role in helping farmers earn more revenue, said Mr Tanawong. He expects sugar cane and cassava farmers to particularly gain benefits and be able to add value to their farm produce.
SCGC will form a joint venture with Brazil-based Braskem, the world’s largest biopolymer producer, to push ahead with its ethylene production project.
In 2021, the company conducted a joint feasibility study with Braskem to look into the opportunities and potential of the project, said Mr Tanawong.
That year, SCGC and Braskem signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a study on an investment in a new bio-ethanol dehydration plant in Thailand.
Ethanol is a raw material for making ethylene-based products.
SCGC plans to import ethanol for use in its factory because ethanol usage in Thailand is restricted by law.
The company also set a target to produce up to 1 million tonnes of green polymers by 2030.
It will continue to invest in projects related to high value-added products.
SCGC currently runs petrochemical factories in three countries – Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia — with a combined production capacity of 6.9 million tonnes.
Its Long Son Petrochemicals (LSP) complex project in Vietnam, the company’s largest investment project in Vietnam and Asean, is scheduled to start commercial operations in the middle of this year, bringing total capacity to 9.8 million tonnes.
LSP is expected to be a major source of revenue for SCGC’s parent firm, Siam Cement Group, in 2023.
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