SEB shares Sarawak hydrogen development in IGEM 2020

The panellists of the Hydrogen Economy Forum session with moderator Krishnaswamy (top right) Ireland (bottom right), Von Meyer (top left) and Sharbini (bottom left).

KUCHING, Oct 27: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) recently participated in the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia 2020 (IGEM 2020).

SEB in a press statement today disclosed its group chief executive officer (CEO), Datu Sharbini Suhaili was invited as a panelist to share the corporation’s hydrogen developments in a ‘Hydrogen Economy Forum’ held through a virtual online session earlier last week on October 21.

During the forum, Sarbini said “Sarawak is blessed with abundant renewable hydropower potential that can be harnessed to produce low carbon hydrogen and is well positioned to become a significant hydrogen player in the global hydrogen value chain.

“The hydrogen economy is a new concept even at global level, and awareness education to the public and concerned stakeholders is important to address concerns and potential misperceptions,” he said.

Sharbini pointed out that the implementation of the hydrogen agenda has its own set of challenges.

These include the current high cost of the hydrogen value chain, the readiness of technologies to support and economies of scale for mass production.

However, he believed that the challenges could be overcome to enable Sarawak to capitalise on the opportunities by being ahead of the curve.

“Hydrogen is already recognised globally as a key enabler in energy decarbonisation and ultimately, climate change mitigation.

“If all players work together, we can benefit collectively from technology improvements and economies of scale, driving down costs of the hydrogen value chain and increasing uptake in the coming years.

“We thank the Government of Sarawak for their trust in allowing Sarawak Energy to play a pivotal role through research in the development or application of technologies that will alter the energy utilisation landscape and progress a green hydrogen economy for Sarawak and beyond,” he added.

Sarbini revealed that Sarawak has two key competitive advantages as a potential hydrogen producer – its industrial electricity tariffs are highly competitive at both national and regional level and renewable hydropower dominates its generation mix and these advantages essentially means that Sarawak can use renewable hydropower to produce green, carbon-neutral hydrogen.

He said hydrogen is primarily used in Sarawak as an essential process feedstock in various industries with most of the hydrogen produced on site by end users such as petrochemical and semiconductor players.

“In 2017, Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that SEB would be entrusted to lead a state-funded research project on hydrogen’s commercial and public application.

“The research project was based on the premise that hydrogen could become the primary fuel of choice for areas such as the transportation sector and energy storage as the technology matures and becomes more commercially attractive in the future,” he asserted.

He said SEB now produces green hydrogen through electrolysis at its integrated hydrogen production plant and refueling station in Kuching built and commissioned in 2019 in partnership with Linde, the world’s largest industrial gas company.

“The integrated production plant is Southeast Asia’s first such facility and capable of fuelling up to five fuel cell buses and 10 fuel cell cars per day.

“The facility is contributing significantly to the body of knowledge in and evaluation of the hydrogen economy in a tropical environment,” said Sarbini.

The hydrogen economy forum was moderated by Frost & Sullivan’s Energy, Sustainability and Industrial senior vice president Ravi Krishnaswamy and other panelists who include Logan Energy’s CEO Bill Ireland and International PtX Hub Berlin’s Global Relations and Networking head Heino Von Meyer.—DayakDaily