Sarawak Energy, UTP ink agreement for collaboration in corrosion research

Sharbini (top centre) and Dr Ng (top right) represented Sarawak Energy in the signing ceremony while UTP is represented by Prof Mohamed Ibrahim (bottom centre) witnessed by George (bottom left) and Prof Mohd Shahir (bottom right).

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KUCHING, Sept 10: Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) has signed an agreement on Monday (Sept 6) to collaborate on corrosion research for the energy developer’s hydropower generation facilities.

According to a media release, UTP, through its Centre for Corrosion Research (CCR), and Sarawak Energy will work together in the areas of corrosion study for the fundamental study of bulk and surface chemistry, assessment of coating performance and development of a novel framework of corrosion management plan for the Bakun Hydroelectric Plant.

Sarawak Energy was represented by Research & Development general manager Dr Ng Sing Muk, while UTP was represented by its Vice Chancellor, Professor Ts. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib at the virtual signing ceremony last Monday.


The agreement was witnessed by Sarawak Energy general manager for Legal, George A. W. Chapman and UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, Professor Ir Dr Mohd Shahir Liew.

The ceremony was also attended by Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Haji Sharbini Suhaili as well as senior management and staff from both institutions.

In delivering his speech, Sharbini emphasised that this is an important undertaking for Sarawak Energy as it expects the outcome to contribute to improving the Bakun Hydroelectric Plant’s performance, in line with its commitment to continuous improvement and operational excellence to continue to supply renewable energy to customers from Bakun.

The 2,400MW Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) was commissioned in 2011 and acquired by Sarawak Energy from Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance in 2017. Malaysia’s largest renewable energy producer, the corporation also owns and operates the 944MW Murum HEP and the 108MW Batang Ai HEP. It is building the 1,285MW Baleh HEP due for commissioning in 2026.

“This research collaboration will also provide rich learnings for future hydropower developments in the Rajang Basin and across Borneo with similar conditions such as geographical terrain, flora and hydrology.

“Indeed, while corrosion issues are generally unavoidable in the hydropower generation industry, having effective corrosion systems and maintenance programmes are essential to reducing downtime, maximising output and securing a long life for our hydro installations,” he said.

Through the research project, Sharbini added that the company would assess the performance and enhance the protective measures of Sarawak Energy’s generation assets to ensure that the reliability of its hydropower plant systems is not compromised.

“We are confident that the collaboration with UTP will be fruitful and that the knowledge shared will provide us with an in-depth understanding of the contributing factors to corrosion at our generation facilities and empowering us to formulate better mitigation measures through our innovation efforts,” he concluded.

Prof Mohamed Ibrahim pointed out that one of UTP’s distinguishing features is its smart partnership with various stakeholders including major players in the relevant industries.

“We are honoured to be collaborating with Sarawak Energy in our quest to become a leader of technology education and a driving force for research.

“The university is extremely appreciative of the support, and we hope that this is the beginning of a dynamic relationship with Sarawak Energy, not only in the areas of research and consultancy but also academics.

“We also hope that this collaboration will contribute towards our CCR in becoming a recognised partner of choice for industries, particularly in corrosion research and management,” he added.

UTP CCR, which is under the Institute of Contaminant Management, leads the research and innovation in the field of corrosion by conducting testing and research driven by the industrial needs as well as providing expertise and facilities for both upstream and downstream corrosion.

The Centre also conducts short courses relevant to corrosion research and is offering the MSc in Corrosion Engineering programme. — DayakDaily