An analysis of the short-term future of ethanol blended gasoline for Thailand's transport
Gasohol has been considered one of the alternatives for gasoline in Thailand by the government for some time now. Many policies are made to ensure a growth in ethanol and subsequently gasohol consumption. However, the question remains whether gasohol is sustainable for the context of Thailand or not. Is it better for the environment than gasoline? Does it provide economic benefits to the country? What are the people’s opinions regarding it? These questions need to be answered before it can be concluded if ethanol and subsequently gasohol is a sustainable choice for Thailand or not. In this dissertation, GHG emissions from ethanol cycle are assessed to examine whether ethanol avoids or creates extra GHG emissions than gasoline fuel-cycle. For the economic analysis, a benefit versus drawback comparison of additional ethanol is considered while an assessment is done to see if corn price might be raised because of additional ethanol production. For the social assessment, a survey is conducted to see Thai people’s acceptance of gasohol. The results show that GHG emissions from cassava-based ethanol are less than gasoline fuel-cycle while ethanol from molasses still increases GHG emissions. Nonetheless, if biomass is used as an energy source for steam generation processes instead of conventional coal, GHG emissions can be significantly reduced much further for both cases. Moreover, additional ethanol should not result in much additional GHG emissions produced that emissions from ethanol will surpass that from gasoline especially if biomass is used as an energy source. From the economic perspective, additional ethanol production brings about more benefits than drawbacks and future food crop prices especially corn should not be changed very much. Finally, from a social acceptance survey, Thai people seem to accept ethanol and gasohol to a certain extent. Ultimately, the analysis shows that although there are still works to be done to improve many aspects of them, ethanol and gasohol have a potential to be a sustainable solution for Thailand in the short term future.