Posted on 22 May 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING (May 22): Sarawak is in the forefront of Malaysia in the use of technology to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using algae, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the growth in Sarawak’s algae production will be brighter now, as people worldwide turn their focus towards sustainable and green energy.

“Sarawak has a suitable climate and abundant sea water for the mass production of algae, and therefore has passed the pre-requisite aspect for algae cultivation for SAF. Thanks be to God that our algae is the strain that produces oil,” he said.

Abang Johari said this in a press conference today at the Kuching International Airport’s VIP lounge to launch the first plane to use Sarawak’s SAF in its mixed fuel – and to fulfil his promise in boarding the particular Langkawi-bound aircraft to attend the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (LIMA 2023).

The plane, an airBaltic Airbus A220-300, had earlier transited here after departing Bangkok, Thailand.

The launch today concluded with VIPs and senior staff of Petronas and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy taking part in a group photo session at the airport tarmac while the SAF refuelling work was in progress.

According to Abang Johari, if Sarawak cultivates algae on one acre of land (full of tanks) using the current technology, it can produce around 500,000 tonnes of fuel per annum.

“If we convert that, more or less, that is 10,000 barrels per day. The unit cost per barrel now is about US$50, but the price may come down depending on the research, which is now in progress,” he said, adding that the cost of production may also go down depending on mass production and economies of scale.

Meanwhile, a quick check with SEDC Energy’s chief executive officer Robert Hardin revealed that SAF comprised only three per cent of the entire fuel for the AirBus.

“However, any plane can use SAF even though such fuel is still scarce. Currently, some countries in Europe are using mixed fuel which includes SAF for their planes – therefore, the potential global market for SAF is huge,” he said.

Robert explained that Europe is encouraged to use SAF due to the green policy of the European Nations Emission Trading System, which is a cornerstone of the European Union’s policy in combating climate change and a key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.

Also present were State Secretary Datuk Amar Abu Bakar Marzuki and Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.

The Borneo Post

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