Sarawak welcomes collaboration with South Korea on sustainable aviation fuel development

Abang Johari (centre) greets Lee upon arrival at the Forum. Also seen is Dr Sim (right). Photo credit: Ukas

By Nur Ashikin Louis and Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 9: Sarawak welcomes South Korea to collaborate on the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which could be the key to sustainable air travel in the transition for low carbon fuel and to decarbonise the aviation industry.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, in making this call, is aware that Korean Air will use SAF on its route between Paris and Seoul which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 per cent as it takes bold steps towards “greener” aviation.

“As a step forward, Sarawak through SEDC (Sarawak Economic Development Corporation) is collaborating with Airbus and Rolls Royce through Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC), to undertake research and development on green hydrogen and fuel cells as future aviation fuel in Demak, Kuching.

“This SAF collaboration is a venture into developing biofuels for aviation, in which the aviation industry has net-zero carbon emissions goals. Biodiesel and e-methanol could be another avenue contributing to the aviation and marine industry as low carbon fuels,” he said in his keynote address at the Sarawak-Korea Energy Business Forum 2022 held at a hotel here today.

As such, Abang Johari emphasised that expanding domestic SAF production can help sustain the benefits of Sarawak’s biofuel industry and forge new economic benefits as well as creating and securing employment opportunities across the country.

“I believe there is tremendous opportunity between Sarawak and South Korea towards a future fuelled with SAF that could unlock additional social, environmental, economic benefits – from creating jobs to restoring soil and watersheds to improving aircraft performance,” he said.

However, Abang Johari pointed out the need to address the gap between jet fuel price and the cost of sustainable fuels to ensure that it is more competitive.

“We need to reduce financial risks to pave the way for greater investment in production infrastructure. The key to greater acceptance and deployment of SAF is reduction in costs.

“We look forward to partnering with the Republic of Korea, especially in research, development and commercialization of improved production technologies and innovative sustainable feedstocks,” he said.

As Sarawak transforms and pushes towards sustainable energy powerhouse, he highlighted that regional and international partnerships are instrumental in ensuring energy security and reliability.

“Sarawak also welcomes partnerships across the value chain. Together, I believe there are plenty of exciting opportunities we can capture and realise. And together, we can press on in our charge towards addressing climate change and creating a sustainable energy future for us all,” he added.

Abang Johari also gave assurance that the Sarawak government has put in place robust policies and procedures to ensure integrity, transparency and good governance that will certainly improve the ease of doing business in the State.

“I believe this platform marks the beginning to a robust collaboration between Sarawak and South Korea in energy development,” he said.

The forum themed ‘Accelerating the Sarawak-Korea Strategic Energy Partnership’ was attended by Ambassador of South Korea to Malaysia Lee Chi Beom, Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Deputy Minister for Energy and Environmental Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, Sarawak Economic Planning Unit director Datu Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Sharbini Suhaili, SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd CEO Robert Hardin, Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) senior vice president of Corporate Strategy Abang Arabi Abang Narudin and Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI) Research Planning and Coordination diretor Dr Lee Ho-Mu, among others. — DayakDaily