Diamond Gas Holdings Sdn. Bhd. (DGH) and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) are embarking into a new research agreement this year after the successful operation of the largest, and one of its kind outdoor Algae Cultivation Facility (ACF) in Southeast Asia, located at SBC.
Algae Cultivation Facility at Sarawak Biodiversity Centre
DGH, an established Malaysian investing company for upstream development, midstream and GTL (gas to liquid) projects in Malaysia is wholly owned by Mitsubishi Corporation (MC). Under the new research agreement, DGH is channelling research funding over a period of 3 years, to support research and development (R&D) activities in developing microalgae towards various potential industrial applications.
Stemming from a long-term SBC-MC collaboration, this SBC-DGH partnership aims to open a new chapter in efforts to spur green technology innovations and offer alternatives to achieve sustainable renewable energy production, in line with this year International Biodiversity Day 2021 theme: “We’re part of the solution #ForNature” announced by the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2021.
Biodiversity serves as the primary solution for various sustainable development challenges from nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and people’s livelihoods. Thus, through this partnership, microalgae will be the main bioresource to drive the development of decarbonization technology as the world transits to the use of renewable energy.
MC began a strong research partnership with SBC in 2012. They have been actively supporting the microalgae R&D in SBC and exploring initiatives to deploy green solutions. Amongst the major achievements that were established is a natural resource asset called Sarawak’s Microalgae library, and the construction of an algae production facility for industrial stakeholders to pilot their technology.
Monitoring of cultivation system by Sarawak Biodiversity Centre’s staff
The Microalgae library has a collection of more than 650 strains covering 75 genera that are indigenous to Sarawak. More than half of these strains have known biotechnological applications, and some remain yet to be decoded in its function. Currently, the SBC research team has successfully demonstrated the cultivation of locally isolated Chlamydomonas and Spirulina as the feedstock for biofuel and aquaculture. The facility for these algae production is equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital network to enhance productivity.
Over the years, MC have been supporting different activities in Sarawak which include energy, automobile businesses, and tropical forest restoration conservation and protection of the environment are placed as one of their core responsibilities to the public.
Microalgae as viable alternative energy source show a high potential for the generation of fuel such as biohydrogen, bioethanol and biodiesel. Through this partnership, demands of both producing enough renewable energy to meet future needs while preserving the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved.
The SBC-DGH partnership agreement was formalized on 20th May 2021 in conjunction with International Biodiversity Day 2021 which is held on 22nd May annually. Diamond Gas Holdings Sdn Bhd was represented by the Managing Director, Mr Yasuyuki Suzuki and the Sarawak Biodiversity Council was represented by its Chairman, YB Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Sarawak State Secretary. The formalization of the agreement was witnessed by Mitsubishi Malaysia Chief Executive, Mr Masashi Shiraishi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research, Sarawak and Deputy Chairman of Sarawak Biodiversity Council, Mr Kameri Haji Affandi and Chief Executive Officer of SBC, Dr Yeo Tiong Chia.