Sarawak to harness agricultural waste for energy to boost circular economy

Azman (second left) presenting a book to Abang Johari during the 2nd Regional Conference on Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation at Imperial Hotel on June 11, 2024.

By Ashley Sim and Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 11: Sarawak aims to transform agricultural waste, including paddy and oil palm residues, into a valuable biomass source for energy production, reinforcing the region’s circular economy initiatives.

Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, emphasised the potential of paddy waste for various uses such as fertiliser and biomass for energy during the opening of the 2nd Regional Conference on Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation (RAC2) 2024 at the Imperial Hotel today.


“There is a new technology called coal generation, using 70 per cent biomass and 30 per cent coal to produce blue energy.

“This means our plantations, including paddy and oil palm, can accumulate all agriculture wastes to produce energy,” he said.

Speaking on Sarawak’s initiatives to establish large-scale paddy cultivation, he mentioned that the water from Sarawak’s many rivers can be used to generate hydropower and at the same time, irrigate paddy farms.

That aside, Sarawak is also pursuing hydrogen as the cleanest energy, particularly for its public transportation like the autonomous rapid transit (ART) system to eliminate carbon emission.

The region is also engaged in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in collaboration with South Korea and Japan, which would contribute to the global fight against climate change.

“Currently, Sarawak is working with a Japanese company Chitose to research and produce pharmaceutical products using algae. We have done research on algae to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the aviation sector, with one farm established in Bintulu covering 1,000 hectares, potentially producing 10,000 barrels of SAF for aviation,” he elaborated.

All these endeavours in Sarawak, he pointed out, demonstrated the importance of technology and research in producing various valuable products.

More importantly, Abang Johari noted, they ensure that Sarawak’s resources are used effectively and efficiently, adding value to the region.

Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sr Dr Stephen Rundi Utom along with his deputies Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and Datuk Martin Ben, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) chairman Dr Azman Ismail and its deputy director-general (Research) Dr Asfaliza Ramli were among those present. — DayakDaily