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InvestSarawak and Marubeni conducting joint pre-feasibility study for a commercial scale SAF value chain

InvestSarawak and Japan-based Marubeni Corp are jointly conducting a pre-feasibility study for a commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) value chain in Sarawak.

Following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last week, the study aims to determine the feasibility of producing SAF using biomass feedstock and to evaluate the potential technological pathways for SAF production in Sarawak.

The collaboration will focus on investigating the availability of biomass feedstock, exploring technology pathways and market demand, assessing expenditure requirements, identifying suitable project sites, and exploring opportunities for government subsidies and incentives in Malaysia and globally.

“Both parties aim to establish a commercial-scale SAF value chain for local consumption or export by 2030,” stated InvestSarawak, a new agency under Sarawak’s International Trade, Industry, and Investment Ministry.

InvestSarawak functions as a one-stop center dedicated to attracting investments that align with Sarawak’s 2030 vision for sustainability and growth.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who witnessed the MoU signing, mentioned last year that Sarawak has the capacity to produce SAF from microalgae for commercial use and that SAF is crucial for the aviation industry’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

He highlighted that Sarawak is exploring microalgae as a potential source of renewable energy, with two facilities cultivating algae in the state.

The first facility is a collaboration between Sarawak Energy Bhd, Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, Eneos Corp, and Chitose Group from Japan at Sejingkat, while the second facility is a collaboration between SEDC Energy and Petroliam Nasional Bhd in Demak Laut.

Abang Johari also mentioned plans to scale up the cultivation of 1,000 acres of algae, which, according to scientists, could produce about 500,000 tonnes per annum of crude algae oil or renewable oil.

This equates to approximately 10,000 barrels of oil per day, with about a 37% extraction rate of crude algae oil from algae biomass.

In his keynote address on “Sarawak Towards Sustainable Energy” at the Future Energy Asia 2024 event in Bangkok last Friday, Abang Johari reiterated the promising prospects for SAF production in Sarawak.

“By harnessing the power of hydrogen in conjunction with renewable resources like algae oil, we can create a cleaner, greener alternative to conventional jet fuel, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of air travel,” he added.

InvestSarawak’s chief executive officer Timothy Ong said Marubeni’s extensive experience and global network will be instrumental in realizing Sarawak’s ambition to be a global player in the SAF market.

Marubeni’s Energy & Infrastructure Solution Group CEO Yoshiaki Yokota expressed his company’s commitment to leveraging its expertise and resources to establish a successful SAF value chain in Sarawak, contributing to the decarbonization of the aviation industry.

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