Implementing a palm oil-based biodiesel policy: The case of Thailand

S. Nupueng*, P.J.M. Oosterveer, A.P.J. Mol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Renewable energy promotion is recognized as an important goal in international climate policies in order to reduce CO2-emissions. Biodiesel can potentially be an important contributor in this respect, especially in Thailand with its large biomass production from oil palm cultivation. Palm oil is the main raw feedstock for biodiesel production. However, biodiesel production is also controversial in many respects, in particular considering its sustainability. This paper assesses the collaboration between different actors in the Thai biodiesel and oil palm networks in organizing biodiesel provision. Through qualitative interviews with key political, economic, and societal actors the structure and the dynamic of the biodiesel and oil palm industry, as well as the relevant policy dynamics, were investigated. We found that the implementation of biodiesel policy was dominated by the need to secure the production of palm oil-based
cooking oil leading to frequent adjustments. Sustainable improvement
and environmental considerations hardly played a role in the interactions between the actors involved in the palm oil and biodiesel industries. Government
agencies were dominant and steered the biodiesel and the oil palm industries both directly and indirectly via economic and societal actors. Nevertheless, the promotion of biodiesel continues to be the basis of the national renewable energy master plan with its clear target to balance and stabilize the economic, social and environmental issues. As the renewable energy master plan does not fit with the possible feedstock, the main challenges in achieving these sustainable targets are therefore how to maintain a stable and consistent policy, especially concerning balancing the palm oil used for biodiesel production on the one hand and palm oil-based cooking oil on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-657
JournalEnergy Science & Engineering
Volume6
Issue number6
Early online date30 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • biodiesel
  • energy policy
  • palm oil
  • sustainability
  • Thailand

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