PMCU to develop new district cooling system plant in Bangkok

A consortium comprising Thai renewable energy company, BCPG Public Company Limited, Singapore's Keppel DHCS Pte Ltd and Thai engineering consultancy, TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Public Company Limited (TEAM Group), has been awarded a contract by the Property Management of Chulalongkorn University (PMCU) for a district cooling system (DCS) project, totalling more than THB 7.5 billion (S$329 million).

The consortium partners aim to form a joint venture (JV) to design, build, operate and transfer the core and shell of the DCS plant, as well as design, build, own, operate and transfer the DCS assets. Keppel DHCS will lead the operations and maintenance of the DCS plant for 20 years.

Located in the Sam Yan commercial area, Bangkok, the DCS plant will have a projected cooling load of 18,000 refrigeration tonnes (RT) to serve the cooling needs of eight developments, covering office, retail and residential properties. The developments are part of the visionary Chula Smart City Project, which seeks to sustainably rejuvenate and redevelop the Siam Square and Suan Luang - Sam Yan commercial areas.

DCS is considered a cost-effective and greener alternative to conventional air-conditioning systems, as it leverages a centrally located chilled water plant to serve a cluster of buildings for their air-conditioning needs. The plant distributes chilled water to its customers' buildings through a network of pipes. By aggregating the customers' energy loads, the overall installed capacity can be lower than if each building used a separate cooling unit. The aggregation also reduces the overall carbon footprint.

The energy-efficient and space-saving attributes of DCS make it suitable and attractive to address the needs of city centres, and property developments. As one of the first private district cooling projects in Thailand, the new DCS, in the heart of Bangkok, will lay the groundwork for the adoption of more sustainable cooling solutions given the country’s high demand for cooling all year round.

The new DCS plant will be developed over three phases, with its first phase set to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2022. The project is scheduled for full completion in 2027.

Bundit Sapianchai, president and CEO of BCPG said, “This is our next smart city development journey after T77's P2P Energy Trading and CMU's Smart Energy. It demonstrates BCPG's commitment in applying cutting edge technology and innovative solutions to promote sustainability for the people beyond green energy.

“The innovative use of DCS would achieve significant energy and cost-savings, as well as reduce carbon emissions, which are in line with Chulalongkorn University’s smart energy concept and environmental sustainability and community rejuvenation goals. We hope that we can apply more of our smart city products and services to support Thailand smart city development opportunities in the near future.”

Dr Aphichat Sramoon, CEO of TEAM Group added, "TEAM Group is an engineering conglomerate involved in the development of more than 2,500 infrastructure projects in Thailand and overseas for over 40 years. Recently, in order to adapt to the current business situation, our strategy has shifted towards the investment in related business projects.

“Following the award of the concession contract for wastewater treatment and water recycling project for the Suan Luang – Sam Yan area, the district cooling project will mark another step towards the investment in sustainable infrastructure projects. We will draw on the rich expertise and experience of TEAM Group and work together with our partners to ensure the successful delivery of this project."

Chua Yong Hwee, general manager of Keppel DHCS commented, “With the increasing international focus on sustainability, coupled with the mounting density of urban populations, we see the growing need for sustainable infrastructure such as district cooling. We are pleased to leverage our strong expertise and track record in developing and operating district cooling and heating systems in Singapore and China to offer our first sustainable solution for cooling in Thailand together with our partners. This project will deepen Keppel DHCS’ understanding of the Thai market and help establish a foothold for us to seek further opportunities in Thailand.”

Image: BCPG/Keppel DHCS/TEAM Group