Sarawak, a rising tiger in renewable energy arena, is ‘hydrogen ready’

Abang Johari speaking at the World Hydrogen 2022 Summit and Exhibition held at Rotterdam today (May 9, 2022).

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 9: Sarawak, a rising tiger in the renewable energy arena, is “hydrogen ready”, says its Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In his speech entitled ‘Accelerating the Global Hydrogen Economy: The Sarawakian Way’, he said when the world was in various states of flux during the pandemic, Sarawak developed its Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, where the government specifically highlighted renewable energy as a cornerstone in its 10-year plan.

“When I say, ‘Sarawak is hydrogen ready’, I am essentially saying that the Sarawakian Hydrogen Economy is at its heart; building an ecosystem where our resources are in abundance, the infrastructure is sufficient, the expertise is available, and the supply and value chains are well established.

“With concerted effort, and real initiatives, Sarawak is sending a clear message across the world: ‘We want Sarawak to be a region for clean, green investment’. We want global low carbon industries serviced by Sarawak supply chains.

“The winds of change are high as they say, and as production scales expand and demands for alternative energy sources increase, it is foreseeable in our global future that the costs of hydrogen production will drop to possibly equivalent to LNG (liquified natural gas) or less.

“This will be a game-changer for the economic landscape of Sarawak and many developing countries,” said Abang Johari while delivering his opening keynote address at the World Hydrogen 2022 Summit and Exhibition.

He explained that Sarawak is currently Malaysia’s largest provider of renewable energy for a population of almost three million across Sarawak and parts of Indonesian Borneo in West Kalimantan.

“In fact, 70 per cent of the total generation mix is from our hydropower resources, which can be harnessed to produce low carbon hydrogen.”

“This provides an ideal setting for enabling the hydrogen economy in Sarawak. Hence, the hydrogen research study was initiated as pioneering steps to explore, innovate and produce green hydrogen as a solution for the commercial and public application of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.”

Sarawak has the equation to produce green ammonia using renewable energy such as green hydrogen produced from hydropower resources. Through this innovation and exploration of green hydrogen to make a key impact on energy transition, Sarawak has developed new effective strategies to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions by introducing clean fuel (green hydrogen) as an alternative fuel for the public transportation sector.

Forging ahead, Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy), Sarawak’s power utility company, is currently exploring the exciting frontiers of producing green hydrogen as a solution for the commercial and public application of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

“NEXO Fuel Cell Vehicles are a riveting component under our auto-expansion strategy with Hyundai, tying in with the hydrogen buses in the latest forays towards greening Sarawak’s public transportation.”

Participants listening to Abang Johari at the World Hydrogen 2022 Summit and Exhibition held at Rotterdam today (May 9, 2022).

Meanwhile, he said Sarawak Energy had successfully established and commissioned Southeast Asia’s first Integrated Hydrogen Production Plant and Refuelling Station in 2018.

The plant, which can produce 130kg of hydrogen per day at close to 100 per cent purity, now serves as a refuelling station for Sarawak’s hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, capable of supporting and fully refuelling up to five fuel cell buses and ten fuel cell cars per day.

“With this pilot hydrogen facility, Sarawak is a step towards building a green energy future for the transportation sector for Sarawak and the Asia Pacific region.”

He said earlier this year, he had launched the first multi-fuelling station in Sarawak’s capital city Kuching, which caters options to vehicles powered by standard fossil fuels, electricity, or hydrogen.

Apart from that, Sarawak also partnered with global players from South Korea to develop environmentally friendly hydrogen and green ammonia plant in its industrial town of Bintulu.

Once completed, the plant will produce 630,000 metric tonnes of green ammonia, 600,000 metric tonnes of blue ammonia, 460,000 metric tonnes of green methanol and 7,000 metric tonnes of green hydrogen for our local industries and South Korea.

“We have recently introduced hydrogen modules at our universities in Sarawak to equip our future engineers to specialise in this industry, along with various research programmes and projects with the likes of Airbus and Japanese firms to test its applications in our day-to-day life,” he added. — DayakDaily