Sarawak Invests Billions in Clean Hydrogen Energy, Leading the Charge for Sustainable Transportation

Sarawak, Malaysia, invests $3.7B in clean hydrogen energy, aiming to become a regional hub for hydrogen fuel exports by leveraging its renewable resources.

Mazhar Abbas
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Sarawak Invests Billions in Clean Hydrogen Energy, Leading the Charge for Sustainable Transportation

Sarawak Leverages Hydrogen Power for Transport and Export

Sarawak, the Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, is investing heavily in clean hydrogen energy to power its transportation network and position itself as a regional hub for hydrogen fuel exports. The state government has allocated RM16.3 billion (approximately $3.7 billion) to develop a comprehensive power-to-transport infrastructure that capitalizes on Sarawak's abundant rainfall and rivers.

Sarawak is already leading the way in hydrogen-powered transportation, with three fuel-cell buses and the state government's official vehicle being a Toyota Mirai, the world's first mass-produced hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. The state plans to expand its hydrogen fleet to include waste collection trucks, medium-sized boats, and an autonomous, hydrogen-fuel tram line called the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART), which is expected to cost RM5.59 billion.

To support its hydrogen ambitions, Sarawak is collaborating with Japan and South Korea's biggest energy companies to establish a robust network for sustainable hydrogen fuel production. The state is partnering with Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy to construct two power plants in Bintulu, H2biscus and H2ornbill, which will have a combined annual output of 240,000 tonnes of hydrogen, rivaling Saudi Arabia's Neom plant.

Why this matters: Sarawak's investment in clean hydrogen energy not only supports its own transportation needs but also positions the state as a major player in the global hydrogen market. By leveraging its renewable energy resources, particularly hydropower, Sarawak aims to produce the cheapest hydrogen among Southeast Asian countries by 2035, making it an attractive export destination.

Sarawak's Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg acknowledges that the hydrogen endeavor poses a significant risk, but he believes it is a calculated one. "We need alternative energy and hydrogen is the cleanest option," he stated, emphasizing the state's commitment to sustainable energy solutions. With its abundant natural resources and strategic partnerships, Sarawak is well-positioned to become a regional leader in clean hydrogen production and utilization.

Key Takeaways

  • Sarawak investing $3.7B to develop hydrogen power infrastructure for transportation
  • Sarawak leading in hydrogen-powered vehicles, including buses, trucks, and trams
  • Partnering with Japan and South Korea to establish hydrogen fuel production plants
  • Aims to produce the cheapest hydrogen in Southeast Asia by 2035 for export
  • Sarawak's Premier acknowledges risks but believes hydrogen is the cleanest option