6 September 2023
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and Malaysian Kuwaiti Investment Co. Sdn. Bhd. (MKIC) have signed an agreement to advance research and development in the palm oil industry.
The collaboration will focus on advancing sustainable technology in the palm oil industry through optimal use of the palm oil plantation's biomass and other wastes.
The agreement was signed by UTP Vice Chancellor Prof Ts Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul
Mutalib and MKIC Chief Executive Officer Mohd Shahrin Mohd Ali.
The signing was witnessed by the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait His Excellency Rashed Mohammed Rashed AlSaleh, the Undersecretary of West Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Datuk Zahairi Baharim and MKIC Chairman Dato’ Sri Dr Sabin Samitah.
Both parties will embark on a pioneering project titled “Optimisation of Biomass Waste-to-Wealth” at Balung Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd in Tawau, Sabah. The project aims to increase the plantation yield, reduce the cost of electricity and decrease the net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The goal of this project is to develop a hybrid heavy-duty plantation vehicle using biodiesel derived from palm oil waste and electric motors. This innovative approach is aimed at significantly reducing diesel fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, aligning with Malaysia and PETRONAS' commitment to achieving net-zero CO2 emissions and UTP's aspiration for sustainable global prominence. The project spans two years and consists of three sub-projects, each led by UTP’s researchers to address critical challenges in the palm oil industry.
The innovative technology stemming from these projects will be instrumental in driving waste-to-wealth initiatives forward.
According to Prof Mohamed Ibrahim, “The signing of the agreement signifies UTP's ongoing commitment to international recognition. As a leading university, UTP plays a vital role in exploring new technological innovation and invention to future-proof our institution. We aim to be the technology solutions provider for the industry through our expertise, experience and research facilities that meet the industry needs and standards."
"This collaboration highlights the significance of academia-industry partnership and our common vision of sustainability. We look forward to scaling up production, expanding application, and exploring revenue opportunities through IP related to the hybrid heavy-duty plantation vehicle, potentially via licensing agreements or technology solutions,” he added.
Meanwhile Dato’ Sri Dr Sabin said,
“By embracing the potential of biofuel and vehicle electrification, MKIC is undertaking a deliberate shift towards a more sustainable energy landscape. The transition from conventional diesel to biofuel derived from waste materials represents a significant stride in minimising our ecological footprint. The projected 74% reduction in CO2 emissions underscores our collective commitment to combatting climate change and safeguarding the environment for future generations.”
He added, “As we stand at the precipice of transformation, we acknowledge that this journey transcends technology or research; it centres on the individuals who passionately drive these innovations. Our partnership with UTP epitomises the profound impact that collaboration between academia and industry can yield. It embodies our shared vision for a greener future.”