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Thailand rethinks biofuels policy

The Thai government has decided to slash parts of several programs calling for an aggressive approach to alternative energy by the former regime, and to adopt what officials say are more realistic projects. Viraphol Jirapraditkul, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said the use of biodiesel (B5), a mix of 95% diesel and 5% used vegetable oil, will be cut by half from the existing plan of 8.5 million liters per day by 2011-12. Viraphol also said the government would not stop distributing octane 95 gasoline due to uncertainty over local ethanol supply, because many factories licensed to produce ethanol for making gasohol were reluctant to go ahead with construction plans. Current demand for ethanol for making octane 95 gasohol is 800,000 liters per day, which is still more than the local supply of between 400,000 and 600,000 liters per day from the existing four or five producers. (January 30, 2007)