PTT and Bangchak Corporation have pledged to help Thailand become a regional production base for high-value biochemical products after the pandemic eases.
Thailand wants to add value to biofuels by using them as feedstocks for the biochemical industry.
The main biofuels produced in Thailand are bioethanol, which is made from cassava and sugar, and methyl ester, which is made from palm oil.
There is currently an oversupply of both.
"PTT Group has seen an opportunity to add value to biofuels for a long time as they can be upgraded to create materials that can fetch prices 40 times as higher," said Arawadee Photisaro, PTT senior executive vice-president for corporate strategy.
PTT Group formed a joint venture with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in 2011 to establish a polybutylene succinate (PBS) production plant in Rayong, with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per year.
PBS is a biodegradable plastic mainly used in the packaging industry for foods and cosmetic products.
BBGI Co, the biotech business arm of Bangchak Corp, also entered the high-value bio-based segment through the acquisition in US-based Manus Bio, a leading global biotechnology manufacturer.
The move followed Bangchak's announcement of its venture into synthetic biology, or synbio -- a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for specific purposes by engineering them to have new abilities.
BBGI chief executive Kittiphong Limsuwannarot said his firm is developing a synbio production factory.
"Construction of BBGI's synbio facility began last year and it is scheduled to start operating in 2023," he said.
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