Public buses, ART helps to kick start Sarawak’s domestic hydrogen use, industry

Robert delivers his presentation on the 'Hydrogen Economy Landscape in Sarawak' at the Sarawak-Korean Energy Business Forum.

By Nur Ashikin Louis and Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 9: Zero-emission fuel-cell public buses and the soon-to-be-implemented trackless autonomous rapid transit (ART) by Sarawak Metro is helping to kick start Sarawak’s domestic hydrogen use and industry.

With that, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy Sdn Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Robert Hardin said that the energy arm has embarked on a local hydrogen production plant to cater to Sarawak’s transport sector including the public transportation system that is currently being revamped.

“On domestic use, we are starting with our public transportation system which is being developed by Sarawak Metro through buses and trackless ART powered by hydrogen fuel-cells.

“In addition, Sarawak’s own network of Petros multi-fuel stations, equipped with not only conventional fossil fuels but also EV charging and hydrogen refueling, are being set up throughout Sarawak to cater for the next generation of fuels.

“This will augur well with Sarawak’s efforts to transition to the hydrogen economy. The transition of current conventional fuels to newer cleaner fuels is a catalyst starting with the transportation system,” he said.

Robert highlighted this in his presentation on the ‘Hydrogen Economy Landscape in Sarawak’ at the Sarawak-Korean Energy Business Forum 2022 which was officiated by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg at a hotel here today.

He pointed out that Sarawak is currently driving efforts in developing the ecosystem for hydrogen economy by developing capabilities in hydrogen production, particularly green hydrogen using hydropower, before pursuing the next stage of converting existing industries to use green hydrogen.

“The global demand for clean hydrogen is consistently rising and we can start to see countries competing for large scale projects. This spur in demand will increase by 2030 to 2050 as more countries are working towards meeting net-zero carbon emission.

“This sparks interest and demand for our carbon future and allows us to flag and position Sarawak as an exporter of clean hydrogen. Several international consortiums have reached out and engaged with us.

“As of today, we have signed agreements with partners from South Korea namely Samsung Engineering, Posco and Lotte Chemical on hydrogen production. This is a welcome investment that will place Sarawak as an exporter of clean hydrogen,” he said.

In this region, Robert emphasised that Sarawak has the most established hydropower energy and coupled with Sarawak’s location being in the path of the busiest international key routes, this makes Sarawak an ideal location for export even to Europe and Asia.

Sarawak, he continued, will capitalise on its renewable energy sources, especially hydropower which is the most stable form of renewable energy and available 24 hours as compared to solar and wind.

Over the past year, he noted that green hydrogen is at the top, especially in the energy industry, as a future fuel to bring down carbon emission levels that is safer for the environment and allows for a more sustainable and greener future for generations to come.

“This transition is bound to happen but it will take time and requires capital investments from both the government and private sector.

“With Sarawak blessed with resources, especially hydropower, politically stable, steady growth, investors can rest assured and confident in investing in Sarawak,” he assured.

Meanwhile, the forum themed ‘Accelerating the Sarawak-Korea Strategic Energy Partnership’ was attended by Ambassador of South Korea to Malaysia Lee Chi Beom, Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Deputy Minister for Energy and Environmental Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, Sarawak Economic Planning Unit director Datu Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Sharbini Suhaili, Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) senior vice president of Corporate Strategy Abang Arabi Abang Narudin and Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI) Research Planning and Coordination diretor Dr Lee Ho-Mu, among others. — DayakDaily