Okay, alternative fuel might be a misleading category in which to place an article about diesel, however in the context of the Thai passenger car market, diesel is very much an underutilized alternative to the petrol engine.
In Europe there are very few cars on the market that don't have at least one diesel-engine option and in many cases the diesel-engined versions are the top sellers.
In Thailand there are only a handful of passenger cars that offer diesel power, and none of them are mainstream models. Why is it taking so long for diesel to catch on in passenger car transport? Let's take a look.
A Brazilian solution to our Gasohol problem? Maybe not, but this device may be of interest to those of you following the Gasohol story here in Thailand.
ABCesso, a Brazilian Technology company, has produced an add-on device which will essentially convert most petrol cars into Flex Fuel Vehicles capable of running E85, pure petrol, or any blend of ethanol and petrol. This would include our local Gasohol 95 (E10).
Thailand, along with the rest of the world, is starting to face up to the fact that oil will not last much longer. Estimates put the end of oil anywhere between 25 and 50 years from now. But the time frame in which oil will run out is not important to know. Oil is getting harder to find and demand is rising, pushing prices ever higher.
Thailand is reacting to the problem now as it is forced to do something to attempt to reduce energy spending and develop programs to make Thailand more self-sufficient when it comes to energy. Gasohol 95 and 91 are at least a start on the road to providing sustainable alternatives. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of imagination or innovation being put to use, and it will take more than blending some ethanol into petrol to solve the problem.
Earlier this year the Thai government recognized that something needed to be done about the fuel situation. Thailand had long subsidized motor fuel to keep the cost artificially low. Finally, rising global oil prices forced the government to take action.
It would be easy to criticize the government for failing to take action sooner but neighbors Indonesia, and more recently Burma, left it later, and were forced to take more dramatic measures leading to public demonstrations of frustration as prices at the pumps soared overnight. Since Thailand acted sooner, a more measured approach was possible with prices risen gradually.
Planet Ark has an interesting article on biofuel production in Thailand.