PETRONAS, SEDC Energy to develop microalgae oil for sustainable aviation fuel

Standing from left; Azmi Bujang, Deputy State Secretary Sarawak Economic Planning & Development and Council Member of Sarawak Biodiversity Centre Datu Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel, Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz Husain, and Datuk Bacho Pilong. Seated from left; Adam Nasir Nawi, Head of Advanced Expertise Common Centre from PETRONAS Group Research & Technology, Norhayati Hashim, Robert Hardin, and Aazina Mujahid Lee, SEDC Energy Head of Legal.

PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd (PRSB), a subsidiary of PETRONAS, and SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), have signed an agreement to develop technology for microalgae oil production.

Under the agreement, PRSB and SEDC Energy will jointly develop algae production technology which includes cultivation, harvesting and extraction of crude algae oil, that will later be refined to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Both parties will also deep dive into the commercial production requirements for crude algae oil, including developing algae strains with high oil content at a competitive production cost.

The signatories to the agreement, signed in Kuching on 20 January, were PRSB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Norhayati Hashim and SEDC Energy CEO Robert Hardin.

Also present at the event were SEDC Chairman Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz Husain; Deputy State Secretary (Economic Planning & Development) Datu Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel; Permanent Secretary to Sarawak Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Azmi Bujang; and PETRONAS Senior Vice President of Project Delivery and Technology Datuk Bacho Pilong.

Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Aziz said, “Aside from the development of Sarawak’s Hydrogen Economy, we acknowledge the significance of alternative low carbon initiatives as the world transitions from conventional hydrocarbon fuels. It has been Sarawak’s interest to explore as many solutions as possible to mitigate carbon emissions and the collaboration with PETRONAS in the development of next generation renewable oil can potentially be a game-changer.”

Datuk Bacho said, “We believe crude algae oil has the potential to support PETRONAS’ Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 aspiration, and we welcome collaborations with like-minded partners like SEDC who share our vision. We also look forward to playing our role in realising the State’s sustainability goals.”