The Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) says it will widely promote the use of hydrogen-powered public transport vehicles in the state. According to its chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Hussain, this will include hydrogen-powered autonomous rapid transit (ART) vehicles as well as buses.
He said that one ART vehicle is ready and would be coming in soon. It will be trialled on the highway in Samarahan for a period of a year, the Borneo Post reports.
He added that more ART vehicles will start coming in next year, and when the required number is obtained the state will begin commercial operations, which is expected to be by the end of 2025. When asked how many ART vehicles would arrive next year, he replied that they will come in batches. “Bit by bit, maybe three or four units at one time,” he said.
The ART system consists of a trackless tram that is outfitted with rubber tyres to run on tarmac instead of on rails as required by trains. These can run autonomously on virtual routes, directed by road markings.
In the case of the hydrogen-powered system that will be used by Sarawak, the Chinese-made ART vehicle measures 30.2 metres in length, 2.65 metres in width and 3.7 metres in height. It can reach speeds of up to 70 km/h and has a 241-passenger capacity with a revised seating layout.
Back in January, Abdul Aziz said that SEDC Energy would produce hydrogen to power the state’s ART system. “We will require about two tonnes of hydrogen a day for the ART next year and we need to ramp this up to five tonnes a day. As such, we need to produce electrolysers for that and we want to produce our own. We don’t want to import from other countries and add to the cost,” he said then.
The state is aiming to become a leader in hydrogen economy in the country, having stated plans to begin large-scale commercial production and export of hydrogen by 2027. development of a new plant located in Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu, was announced last year. Dubbed the H2biscus project, the plant will eventually produce 220,000 tonnes of green hydrogen, 630,000 tonnes of green ammonia and 600,000 tonnes of blue ammonia when it is up and running.
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