Sarawak Energy inks `fuel of the future’ MoU with SMDS

Sharbini (white shirt) and Omar exchange documents as Nooruddin (ninth left), Schultz (sixth left) and other senior representatives from both sides look on.

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KUCHING, Dec 7: A milestone in the exploration of a green energy agenda for Sarawak that potentially includes hydrogen was reached when Sarawak Energy and Shell MDS (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (SMDS) signed a MoU to work together to assess potential opportunities in lower cost hydrogen production technology via electrolysis.

The memorandum of understanding includes a joint study and knowledge exchange on hydrogen production technology, education and the drawing up of best practices as well as assessing opportunities for green certification in hydrogen production.

Signing for Sarawak Energy were Group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili and senior vice-president (Legal & Enterprise Risk) Nooruddin Abdullah, while SMDS were represented by their managing director Omar Sheikh and general manager (Manufacturing) Chris Schultz.

The MoU follows Sarawak Energy’s pilot hydrogen production plant and refuelling station scheduled to be ready in time for a test run of three hydrogen-powered buses due to arrive here by the first quarter of 2019.

A file picture of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at a press conference in November last year to announce that Sarawak Energy will spearhead a feasibility study on hydrogen and fuel cell applications in the state.
A file picture of the earth-breaking ceremony for the pilot facility hydrogen production plant and refuelling station that was held in July this year, officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (centre).

The production plant and refuelling station is part of several initiatives being undertaken by Sarawak Energy as part of the state-owned energy developer’s research into greening the transportation sector through low carbon fuels for Kuching.

The first such plant in South East Asia, the pilot facility lays the foundation for research on the commercial viability of a hydrogen economy for Sarawak through the production, delivery, storage and utilisation of this `fuel of the future’.

Sharbini said the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technology was regarded as the missing link in the value chain of the renewable energy business.

“This collaboration with SMDS sees us working to achieve a common goal in supporting the state’s aspiration to decarbonise our energy system, augmenting what Sarawak Energy is already doing via hydropower to provide clean, renewable and affordable energy for Sarawak,” he said.

Hydrogen is a versatile molecule that acts as an energy carrier and delivers a cleaner fuel in mobility and energy storage as well as a feedstock to industrial chemical processes. Sarawak’s generation mix is primarily renewable hydropower at 75 per cent so producing hydrogen in Sarawak from the grid would be less fossil-fuel intensive. — DayakDaily