Sarawak Energy undertaking pilot hydrogen initiative to grow as an energy powerhouse

Datu Sharbini Suhaili.

By Lian Cheng

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22: Sarawak Energy Berhad is currently building a hydrogen production plant and a refueling station in Kuching as it wants to explore options to grow as a company and to help the state leapfrog into the future.

“It is basically in an early stage of technological adoption,” said its group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili of the pilot project to, for starters, provide hydrogen to hydrogen fuel cell buses that are expected to ply the streets of Kuching in April next year.

Saying that Sarawak Energy was entrusted by the state government to carry out this initiative, he said he foresaw vehicles of the future running on a variety of energy sources, such hydrogen fuel cells, electricity and fossil fuel.

“The way I see it, in the future, there will be a mixture of internal combustion engines, electric vehicles plus hydrogen fuel cells depending on the location, economy and personal preference,” shared Sharbini at the ‘Sarawak Transformation Plan: Towards High Income and Developed State 2030’ session which was held as part of the one-day ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2018’ event at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre here on Saturday (Oct 20).

Sharbini, who was one of the panelists, highlighted that many countries, including China, Japan, South Korea and Germany, were now trying to harvest hydrogen from water, and Sarawak needed to ensure she was part of this development.

Furthermore, he predicted that battery disposal would become a major problem when the volume of electric vehicles in the world skyrockets in future.

“Whereas hydrogen, you don’t need it. A hydrogen vehicle is the same as an electric vehicle. The motor is the same, except that you don’t have batteries. You have a fuel cell and hydrogen storage. And to fill it, it just takes a few minutes. As for electric vehicles, it takes a couple of hours,” he said.

He added that Sarawak Energy’s vision was to be the regional champion for energy.

“We have the capability to do that, and we want to make sure that when the Borneo Grid comes on-stream, we are the one who drives the Borneo Grid,” he said, adding that Sarawak Energy was already exporting energy to Kalimantan, Indonesia and would soon do the same for Sabah and Brunei. — DayakDaily