Swinburne, SEDC Energy sign hydrogen research collaboration agreement

From left: Mohd Faizal, Robert, Wilson and Su at the agreement signing ceremony recently.

KUCHING, Jan 18: Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne) and a subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd (SEDC Energy) have recently entered into a research collaboration agreement to begin a three-month techno-economic feasibility study for the development of a hydrogen production plant in Kuching.

The agreement was signed by Swinburne’s deputy vice-chancellor and chief executive officer (CEO) Professor John Wilson and SEDC Energy’s CEO Robert Hardin at Swinburne’s campus.

Swinburne in a press statement today said the research project is led by its Director of Research Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST)Associate Professor Jaka Sunarso and chemical engineering lecturer Dr How Bing Shen.

It disclosed that its Director of Business and Social Innovation Centre Dr George Ngui Kwang Sing, and chemical engineering lecturers Dr Chew Jiuan Jing and Dr Siti Salwa Hashim were also on board as researchers.

The university through its research CST, and Business and Social Innovation Centre (BSIC) initiated the opportunity to work together with SEDC Energy on their hydrogen economy agenda.

“The Sarawak government through SEDC has taken the ambitious step to introduce the first hydrogen fuel cell buses, vehicles, and integrated hydrogen production, storage, and refuelling station in South East Asia.

“Swinburne is delighted to be working with SEDC Energy on this project.

“We have a pool of great expertise, for example, Associate Professor Jaka, whose research track record focuses on sustainable energy delivery that includes batteries, fuel cells, membranes, and hydrogen related technologies.

“We also have Dr How whose research interests include energy planning and carbon management, as well as our other colleagues who are experts in their respective fields,” Wilson said.

He applauded the Sarawak government’s effort in championing a clean hydrogen energy future, adding that it’s an exciting development for the state.

Sarawak, being a state that enjoys regular rainfall annually, he said, has provided advantages to the state to tap into the potential and abundance of rain water to generate clean energy.

Swinburne’s Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Science Professor Su Hieng Tiong representing Director of School of Research Associate Professor Ts. Lau Bee Theng, and SEDC Energy’s Head of Project Delivery and Technology Mohd Faizal bin Mohammad Amin were among those present to witness the signing of the collaborative agreement.

Meanwhile, Robert said many countries around the world were on a mission to reduce carbon emission in their effort to protect the environment, and realising this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has decided that Sarawak must drive the initiative in pursuing hydrogen economy.

“Not only is Sarawak blessed with abundance of water but we also have plenty of existing hydropower dams.

“We have invested significantly into building these dams and therefore, we want to add value to these investments by developing the fuel cell and hydrogen economy for domestic demand,” Robert said, adding that this will be the beginning of a long collaboration with Swinburne. —DayakDaily