This Pilot and Demonstration Activities (PDA) helped determine the feasibility of an “activated carbon manufacturing factory” to produce activated carbon from coconut and palm oil shells that can be used for industrial water pollution control and low-cost water filters.


Project site Prachuab Khiri Khan, Thailand
Cost US$ 49,200
Status Completed
Approval date November 2007
Completion date May 2008
Category Rural
ADB officer Hubert Jenny
Partner Centre for Energy Environment Resources Development

Report card

Completed in May 2008, this PDA

  • Determined and analyzed the legal, institutional, technical, economic, and environmental issues related to the establishment of an activated carbon plant in Tap Sakae District, Prachaub Khiri Khan Province, Thailand. The plant is meant to produce activated carbon from coconut and palm oil shells that can be used for industrial water pollution control and low-cost water filters
  • Defined an appropriate public-private partnership business model involving various stakeholders for operating and maintaining the activated carbon plant

Read the final report. 


Coconut plantations cover a substantial part of the Tap Sakae district in Thailand’s Prachuab Khiri Khan province, serving as important livelihood to rural communities. Tap Sakae farmers have depended on the coconut tree and its byproducts for years. Besides its fruit, most parts of the coconut tree have some use:

  • Coconut water is collected and sold
  • Coconut meat is used for making coconut cream or coconut oil
  • Pressed cake from the coconut oil production is used as animal fodder
  • Coconut shells are used to make charcoal briquettes
  • Coconut fiber is exported for furniture cushions

But the processing of coconut residues, while a potentially lucrative business, is often considered a not-so-profitable activity because of the lack of technology. Though a major coconut producer, the Tap Sakae district is also one of the poorest. Most of the coconuts that are not processed locally are sold at low prices and transported to central Thailand for further processing.

This PDA assessed more efficient uses of coconut residues locally, specifically for water filter products, to boost the local coconut industry and fast-track socio-economic development in the province.

Expected outcomes

  • Identification of potential raw material suppliers (coconut shells, coconut fiber residues and/or palm oil shells, etc.)
  • Identification of potential buyers of activated carbon
  • Technical pre-feasibility report for preparation of final technical design and project implementation
  • Financial pre-feasibility report
  • Evaluation of institutional, legal, and environmental frameworks
  • Project implementation plan
  • Preliminary environmental impact assessment