KUCHING, May 27 — Sarawak is poised to become a world exporter of hydrogen following the launch of Southeast Asia’s first integrated hydrogen production plant and refuelling station here today.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said a potential overseas investor had shown interest in setting up a plant to produce hydrogen here and buy the product back to replace nuclear power in their country.
“I cannot reveal the details yet because negotiations are still on and there is a possibility of Sarawak becoming a world exporter of hydrogen that will give extra revenue to power our economy in the long run,” he told reporters after the launch of the plant and refuelling station being undertaken by Sarawak Energy, an energy development company, in collaboration with Linde EOX Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Linde Malaysia.
The production plant, which is also the first one in the country, is able to produce 130 kilogrammes of hydrogen per day at a purity of 99.999 per cent (five 9s) and is capable of supporting and fully refuelling up to five fuel cell buses and 10 fuel cell cars per day.
At present, Sarawak Energy has five hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, comprising three buses and two cars, which will be serviced at this facility.
He said Sarawak would also initially set up five three-in-one refuelling stations at a cost of RM15 million each by the end of this year.
Abang Johari said he had directed Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (PETROS) and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to set up the three-in-one refuelling stations — of fossil fuel or diesel, electric and hydrogen — statewide.
So far places in the rural areas had been identified for the five initial three-in-one refuelling stations, he said.
He said the Sarawak government was aggressively promoting research and development (R&D) and has established the Research Council which is involved in every facet of the state’s economic activities to give added value based on its resources.
The council is being chaired by himself as the chief minister with members drawn from scientists and experts, including from the digital infrastructure industry to conduct artificial intelligence on resources data such as hydrogen to enable the state’s economy to be in compliance with the global economy, he said.
He said extra revenue earned from sales and tax imposed on oil and gas products would be used to conduct R&D on hydrogen, given that Sarawak could take advantage of its five dams, including Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai, that are currently only producing hydro energy.
Next year, Sarawak was expected to allocate over RM50 million for R&D projects that would include a study on hydrogen development.
For this year, RM10 million has been allocated for R&D in hydrogen development in the state, he said.
“You cannot rely on fossil fuel that is subjected to price fluctuation and depleting resources,” he said adding that Sarawak was moving towards a green energy future, especially in the transportation sector. — Bernama