Sarawak Investment Authority and Marubeni sign memorandum of understanding on commercial scale aviation fuel

KUCHING: Sarawak Investment Authority and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation are conducting a joint pre-feasibility study for a commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) value chain in Sarawak.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties last week, the goal is to confirm the feasibility of using biomass feedstock to produce SAF and evaluate potential technological pathways for SAF production in Sarawak.

The collaboration will focus on investigating biomass feedstock availability, technology pathways and market demand, assessing expenditure needs, 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,” said InvestSarawak, a new agency under the Sarawak Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Investment.

Sarawak Investment Authority is a one-stop center dedicated to attracting investments in line with Sarawak’s Vision 2030 for sustainable development and growth.

Sarawak Governor Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who witnessed the signing of the MoU, said last year that Sarawak has the capability to produce SAF from microalgae for commercial use and that SAF is critical to the aviation industry’s efforts to achieve net-zero emissions.

He said Sarawak had taken steps to explore microalgae as a potential source of renewable energy and had two algae farming facilities in the state.

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

Abang Johari said it plans to expand the cultivation of 1,000 acres of algae, which according to scientists can produce about 500,000 tons of algae crude oil or recycled oil annually.

This equates to approximately 10,000 barrels of oil per day, resulting in an extraction rate of approximately 37% of algal oil from algal biomass.

At the Future Energy Asia 2024 event in Bangkok last Friday, Abang Johari reiterated the bright future for Sarawak’s SAF production during his keynote speech on Sarawak’s move towards sustainable energy.

He added: “By combining hydrogen with renewable resources such as algae oil, we can create a cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional jet fuel, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of air travel.”

InvestSarawak CEO Timothy Ong said Marubeni’s extensive experience and global network will help realize Sarawak’s ambition to become a global player in the SAF market.

Marubeni Energy & Infrastructure Solutions Group CEO Yoshiaki Yokota said the company is committed to leveraging its expertise and resources to create a successful SAF value chain in Sarawak that will help decarbonize the aviation industry.

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