KUCHING: Sarawak will export the bulk of green hydrogen produced from a plant in the Petrochemical Hub in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu, to South Korea.
Once operational, the plant will produce annually 630,000 tonnes of green ammonia, 600,000 tonnes of blue ammonia and 220,000 tonnes of green hydrogen, of which 7,000 tonnes will be for domestic use and the rest exported to South Korea, said Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
South Korean companies Samsung Engineering Co Ltd, Posco and Lotte Chemical are partnering with Sarawak State Economic Development Corp (SEDC) to develop the hydrogen plant, dubbed H2biscus project. The hydrogen plant will be the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“I believe the time for hydrogen has arrived. After several decades of waiting for the potential of hydrogen as an energy carrier, hydrogen is now ready to assume a leading role in the global energy and economic transition.
“Almost 90% of global gross domestic product has put forward hydrogen support policies or initiatives,” he added at the opening of Sarawak-Korea Energy business forum here.
The event, themed “Accelerating Sarawak-Korea Strategic Energy Partnership” was co-hosted by Sarawak Economic Planning Unit and Embassy of South Korea in Malaysia.
Sarawak has awarded a US$1.07bil (RM4.69bil) contract to Samsung Engineering to provide licensing, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning service for the Sarawak methanol project currently under construction in Tanjung Kidurong.
Johari said global hydrogen market is picking up speed, with clean hydrogen production capacity more than doubled since January 2021
“By 2050, the world’s economies and energy systems will look greener.
“The projected reduction in renewable energy and electrolyser costs as well as the need for deeper decarbonisation of all economic sectors will drive the emergence of a global market for green hydrogen and its derivatives.
“This is mainly because hydrogen is an essential component of a net-zero energy system for deep decarbonisation that is required to meet the current climate targets.”
Johari said riding on this new rising potential, Sarawak is developing a public transport system called Automated Rapid Transit, which will be integrated with digital solutions to create a seamless experience using hydrogen fuel cell.
He expects this eco-friendly integrated public transportation system currently being implemented in Kuching-Samarahan Divisions to reduce carbon footprint in the Kuching city by 15% by 2030.
“Sarawak will create an ideal ecosystem for hydrogen economy to be a pioneer in the Asia-Pacific to explore, innovate and produce green hydrogen.
“Typically, green refers to zero-carbon products produced using renewable energy and electrolysis and blue to a production method that uses natural gas paired with carbon capture technologies to produce low-carbon products.”
Johari said Sarawak has been identified as one of the potential regions in the world for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
“The CCUS can fast track the growth of South-East Asian economies on the path to net-zero emissions.
“The CCUS goes beyond fossil fuel applications and contribute to emission reductions of the power and industrial assets, while underpinning new economic opportunities association with the production of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia,” he added.
The Premier said with the approval of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the state assembly last month, this gives the state a powerful mitigation technology towards low-carbon economy.
Johari welcomes South Korean companies to work with Sarawak to explore the potentials in CCUS.
“The opportunity lies in the initial stage of capturing and separating CO2 from processing and production of the green ammonia, methanol or from the combustion flue gases. The CO2 that is captured is then compressed into liquid or supercritical fluid, ready for transportation.
“I believe the cooperation between South Korea and Sarawak will enable faster and more efficient development of CCUS for the development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure.”
He said Sarawak is now turning its attention towards a robust production of alternative aviation fuel, which could be the key to sustainable air travel in the transition for low-carbon fuel and to the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.
“Using sustainable aviation fuels result in the reduction of carbon emissions compared to traditional jet fuels and as they are replaced over the whole life cycle of the fuel.
“Sarawak, through SEDC, is collaborating with Airbus and Rolls Royce through the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre to undertake research and development on green hydrogen and fuel cell as future aviation fuel in Demak, Kuching.
“This sustainable aviation fuel (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.”
However, Johari said there is a need to address the gap between jet fuel price and the cost of sustainable fuels to be 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.”
Johari noted that Korean Air will use SAF on its route between Paris and Seoul and Incheon. The airline would reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 80% and take bold steps towards “greener” aviation.