KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): The government is still in the process of developing a comprehensive roadmap and strategy for the hydrogen economy, according to Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Liew Chin Tong.
Once the strategy is agreed upon and implemented, Miti will work with relevant stakeholders to find the right incentives and opportunities, such as tax incentives, capital allowances, financial support, and research and development, to attract investment in hydrogen production and infrastructure, he said.
“Hydrogen has been identified as a fuel for the future in Malaysia's National Energy Policy. The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, alongside the National Nanotechnology Centre, are currently drafting the National Hydrogen Strategy.
[But at the moment], we do not have a clear deadline [for policy implementation],” Liew told the media after the launching of Malaysia Association of Hydrogen Energy among industry players on Tuesday (March 21), organised by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).
“As we know, the government has committed to transitioning Malaysia to a carbon neutral nation by 2050. In addition, as part of the Paris Agreement, we have committed to reducing the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in 2030, relative to 2005.
“Admittedly, transitioning the global economy towards clean and sustainable sources of energy is one of the greatest challenges in the coming decades, as we have become too dependent on unsustainable fossil fuels. To expedite the reduction in carbon emissions, we are exploring additional options, including investing in hydrogen technology,” Liew mentioned.
Hydrogen's role in creating a sustainable environment lies in decarbonisation, he said, with hydrogen able to replace the use of fossil fuel-based energy sources in many sectors without emitting carbon dioxide (CO2).
Asked if national oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will play a key role in this hydrogen area, Liew said, "There will be several players in the whole ecosystem”.
“The hydrogen economy is just at (its) beginning (stages). Much as there are still too many unknowns, there are many opportunities ahead too,” Liew added.
According to the Miti deputy minister, Sarawak has taken the lead in hydrogen production through Project H2ornbill, with a green hydrogen plant scheduled to commence operations in Bintulu this year, capable of producing up to 10,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year by 2025.
“As hydrogen becomes an increasingly traded commodity, net-zero aligned financial facilities will have to be established to leverage the new investments needed,” Liew said.
Mida chief executive officer Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman, meanwhile commented that some South Korean companies have expressed interest in investing in Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, in this area of the hydrogen economy.
"There has been a consortium of South Korean companies that have expressed interest in investing in Sarawak to build infrastructure and eventually produce hydrogen.
“What has been indicated to us (is that) they are in the process of final investment decision (FID). I cannot disclose more on that,” he noted.
Local news on Monday (March 20) reported that Miti has secured a potential investment of RM24 billion, as well as RM4.24 billion of potential exports of products and services through its recent trade and investment mission to South Korea.
Bernama quoted Miti Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz as saying that some South Korean companies have expressed strong interest in Malaysia, which is an important catalyst for expanding the two countries' bilateral trade and investment ties, especially in sustainable and green technology sectors such as carbon capture storage, hydrogen energy and electric vehicle.