Ford Motor Company today announced a partnership with the Thailand National Science and Technology Development Administration (NSTDA) to develop systems approaches and technical capabilities for the domestic production and use of bio-ethanol fuels.

Gerry Kania, president, Ford ASEAN Operations, and Dr. Pairach Tachayapong, director, NSTDA, signed a Memorandum of understanding outlining the primary objectives of the partnership. Both parties are meeting in Bangkok for a two-day workshop to investigate the production of bio-ethanol fuel from agricultural products and by-products that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable.

This initiative is important: Thailand's petroleum resources are at a premium, and its dependence on imports is growing.

"Thailand is an ideal proving ground for the domestic production of bio-ethanol fuelin Asia-Pacific, a region in need of environmental improvements," said Kania. "Ford Motor Company's automotive expertise and Thailand's agricultural resources - such as tapioca, sugar cane and rice - are a powerful combination. We're excited about the potential rewards our partnership will reap."

Ford Motor Company and NSTDA agreed to work cooperatively on achieving the following objectives:

  • Carry out a life-cycle study for the production and use of bio-ethanol fuels from agricultural products and by-products in Thailand. The information acquired from this study will be used to determine the most viable technologies that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable.

  • Study the emission and robustness of the Ford Thailand Ranger, which runs on diesohol - a 10- to 15-percent mixture of bio-ethanol and diesel fuels. Efforts will be made to optimize the fuel blend and operational parameters.

  • Package an imported gasoline bio-ethanol flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) powertrain system into a Thailand produced vehicle. Conduct in-service vehicle evaluation and calibration of vehicle performance and emissions using E85 bio-ethanol, a mixture of 85 percent bio-ethanol and gasoline fuels.

  • Work closely with the Thailand government to help develop policies and incentives to promote utilization of bio-ethanol fuel and bi-fuel vehicles in Thailand.

  • Promote cooperation between bio-ethanol manufacturers in the U.S. and Thailand to develop feasible technologies for the production of bio-ethanol from surplus agricultural products, agricultural wastes and other waste bio-mass materials.

  • Support future conferences and workshops in Thailand related to this cooperative project.

  • The foundation for this workshop was established in 1998 when representatives from Ford Motor Company and General Motors, along with academic, industry and government experts from the U.S. and Thailand, met to examine Thailand's automotive industry and transportation system. The meetings generated 62 recommendations, including domestic production of bio-ethanol fuel. The Thailand government has since launched a major environmental program, the particulars of which are the focus of the current two-day workshop.

    Additional participants in the workshop include: Thailand Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai; Richard E. Hecklinger, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand; North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.; Chulalongkorn (Thailand) University; Thailand Department of Agriculture, University of California-Riverside; Energy Resource Institute; U.S. Asia Environmental Partnership; and the U.S. governments of California and Wisconsin.

    The delivery of Model A vehicles in 1903 marked the beginning of Ford Motor Company's long-standing presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Ford has since forged numerous cooperative automotive and environmental initiatives throughout the region in keeping with its commitment of becoming a world leader in mobility, safety and environmentalism.