Sarawak’s quest to develop hydrogen-driven economy within reach, says Abg Jo (Video)


Abang Johari gives the thumbs up while posing for photographs in the Toyota Mirai. Also seen behind the Premier are Huang (second right) and Hamad Kama Piah. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Jan 16): Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg is confident that Sarawak’s quest to develop a hydrogen-driven economy is within reach as demand for the clean energy source is poised to grow within the next five to 10 years.

He said Sarawak, with its abundant sources of renewable energy, would be able to benefit from its ventures in hydrogen technology, especially when the production cost of hydrogen comes down.

“The process (of making hydrogen) is currently quite expensive but there is a possibility that the cost will come down with the mass production of electrolysers, for instance.

“Much like how computers were large and very expensive when they first came out, today our computers are compact, allowing us to store data.

“There is a possibility that electrolysers will use the same route and with research and development (R&D) being done now, the electrolyser process can be cheaper and this system will convert water into hydrogen,” he told a press conference after receiving the delivery of the Toyota Mirai at Menara Pelita here today.

He pointed out that scientists are now researching mass production of electrolysers and this would lead to economies of scale.

“This means that electrolysers in the future will be cheaper and the technology for the system will change.

“Right now, this is being researched by scientists so in five to 10 years’ time, I believe that the price of electrolysers will go down and that is the key to producing hydrogen,” he said.

On the Toyota Mirai, Abang Johari described the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle as one of the evolutions in the car industry.

“This is one of our efforts at the state level to use green energy, namely hydrogen. In Sarawak, we have a few vehicles driven by hydrogen power such as the Hyundai (Nexo) as well as hydrogen-powered buses. Now our latest hydrogen vehicle is the Toyota Mirai.

“This high-tech car can travel on a single ‘tank’ of hydrogen of 1,000km, which is the distance from Kuching up to Limbang,” he said, adding that the Mirai takes only three to four minutes to be refuelled.

He said the state has gone forward with the implementation of green energy through various initiatives that also include the production of hydrogen in its own plants.

“Sarawak is going in this direction because we have the resources.

“If Sarawak is successful, Malaysia will be successful. That is why Sarawak must be recognised as a region,” he said.

UMW Toyota Motor today handed over a Toyota Mirai to Abang Johari as well as four units to SEDC Energy, marking yet another step towards delivering ‘Mobility for All’ and producing ‘Happiness for All’ underpinned by Toyota’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 and Sarawak’s Green Mobility and Green Energy Initiatives.

In its statement, Toyota said Mirai, which means future in Japanese, represents a turning point for the automotive industry, offering a cleaner and greener alternative to consumers.

With a cruising range of a conventional sedan and the ability to refuel within five minutes, the Toyota Mirai runs on a hydrogen fuel cell with enormous potential as environment-friendly vehicles, or ‘ultimate eco-cars’ which emit only water.

Among those present at the ceremony were Deputy Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii; Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Hussain; UMW Holdings Berhad Group chairman Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman; and UMW Toyota Motor deputy chairman Takashi Obata.