Sarawak aims to export hydrogen next, says CM

Sharbini (left) showing Abang Johari (second from right) the scaled model of the hydrogen production plant and fuelling station.

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KUCHING, July 29: Sarawak aims to be a net exporter of hydrogen in South East Asia (SEA) in the near future. It currently exports liquid natural gas (LNG).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the gas industry had transformed following demand for greener energy, and Sarawak aimed to be at the forefront by being the first ‘country’ in the region to produce and export hydrogen for industrial use.

“Maybe one day we can produce hydrogen for the world. If that happens, then we have diverse gas exports to the world,” he said in his address today during the earth-breaking ceremony for Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) proposed Hydrogen Production Plant and Refuelling Station. This pilot project is the first of its kind in South East Asia.

Abang Johari (back row, third from left) witnessing the MoU signing between Hughes (seated, second from left) and Sharbini (seated, second from right).
Abang Johari (centre) witnessing the exchange of MoU documents between Hughes (left) and Sharbini.

Abang Johari said the process of producing hydrogen in Sarawak could be comparatively cheaper compared to other places.

At the function, SEB also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international corporation Linde Group to collaborate in the project. The facility costs about RM15 million, and it is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2019.

Under the MoU, both corporations would also be exploring potential markets for hydrogen and to undertake a joint technical study to assess the technology of the whole value chain.

The production plant and refuelling station is located at SEB’s Western Region Office in Pending here. Once completed, it would be able to produce 130kg of hydrogen daily. This amount is enough to power up to five hydrogen buses and 10 hydrogen cars.

Abang Johari said the facility would be used to power the country’s first three hydrogen fuel-cell powered buses for use in Kuching city.

Meanwhile, Linde Group’s head (Regional Business Unit) Rob Hughes said Linde was proud to partner SEB in this project.

Hughes delivering his address.

“Linde will contribute our knowledge and expertise as a pioneer in the entire hydrogen value chain. We have worked with partners delivering around 150 hydrogen fuelling stations around the world, and the success is now extending its focus to Asia,” he said.

SEB Group chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili said two research teams had been set up for the whole project.

“One is to deliver this pilot project, which is to get the manufacturing facility up and running by the first quarter of 2019, and perhaps to bring (in) the three hydrogen buses with the help of the state government.

“The other research team would be looking at the hydrogen economy to see what else we can do with hydrogen,” he said. — DayakDaily