SEDC teams up to build hydrogen plant

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (standing centre) and other state Cabinet ministers witnessing the signing of the MOU between SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd, Sumitomo Corporation and Eneos Japan to develop a hydrogen plant in Bintulu. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak Economic Development Corp (SEDC) has teamed up with Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and ENEOS to build a hydrogen plant in the proposed Bintulu petrochemical park.

The plant project, which has a planned capacity of 1,000 tonnes per year, is expected to be ready by 2023.

SEDC subsidiary SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd inked a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sumitomo and ENEOS via Zoom last Friday. ENEOS is the brandname for products manufactured and sold by JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp, the largest oil company in Japan.

The signatories for the MoU were SEDC general manager Abdul Hadi Abdul Kadir, Sumitomo Energy Division executive officer and general manager Hajime Mori and ENEOS central technical research laboratory, hydrogen business and fuel cell customer support senior vice-president and managing executive officer Miyata Tomohide.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg witnessed the event.

SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the proposed hydrogen plant with initial 1,000 tonnes per annum capacity is scablable and can be expanded to thousands of tonnes if the needs arise to meet domestic and export markets.

“Recent development in the industry have shown that Sarawak could benefit from the international green hydrogen trade as we are not the first to venture into this area, ” he added. Last year, state-owned utility body Sarawak Energy Bhd, in collaboration with Linde EOX Sdn Bhd, launched South-East Asia’s first integrated hydrogen production plant and refuelling station in Kuching.

The plant uses water to produce the carbon-free hydrogen.

This represented the first initiative of the Sarawak government towards creating a hydrogen-based economy.

SEDC completed the acquisition of two parcels of vacant land measuring 405.6ha in Bintulu from Petrolchemical Hub Sdn Bhd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Naim Holdings Bhd, for RM340mil in cash on Wednesday.

SEDC has been tasked by the Sarawak government to spearhead the development of the land into a petrochemical park.

Mori said Sumitomo had been engaged with SEDC on the hydrogen plant project since last November.

He said based on preliminary studies, Bintulu is one of the best locations to produce green hydrogen.

Tomohide said ENEOS agreed to participate in the plant project with the strong support from Sarawak government, adding that his company had been working on hydrogen energy for many years through research and development.

Hydrogen will be the green energy of the future, according to Tomohide.

Abang Johari said the Sarawak government had asked the federal government to reduce or eliminate import taxes on vehicles which use hydrogen fuel.

Expecting the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles to pick up by 2023, the Chief Minister said the strategic partnership between SEDC and Japanese companies would pave the way for Sarawak to venture further into the hydrogen economic agenda which was progressively being pursued by developed countries.“Sarawak is aiming to leverage on the abundance of raw materials that we have, including the cheap electricity tariffs produced by our own hydroelectric dams which enable us to produce the hydrogen gas with cost effectiveness in mind, ” he added.

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