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Power via high-tech, lower cost
Published on: Friday, January 12, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sabahans will enjoy consistent and cheaper electricity when a first state-of-the-art Clean Fuel Refinery Complex (CFRC) cum proposed mega utility project kicks off in Tawau, expected within this year.

Peninsula-based Afmaco Energy Berhad (Afmaco) has announced its intention to invest up to RM2.4 billion in developing the construction of the proposed CFRC project at a 180-acre site in Pasir Putih, Tawau.

Its Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Faizul Bin Mohamed Alwi said the project will adopt technology tested in China for over eight years and proven to produce clean fuel and energy in a closed and controlled environment.

He said it will run on a proven environmentally friendly method using lignite (known as surface coal which is close to charcoal) as the raw material that produces clean fuel in generating ample electricity supply while employing zero waste system.

"We have the manufacturing and refining licence for the company from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MiTi) and governed under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to process the lignite and produce clean fuel and the power supply.

"The technology to be applied for the CFRC project was carefully selected due to the Sabah Government's strict regulations and strong non-governmental organisation (NGOs) activist efforts to preserve Sabah's beautiful rainforest heritage and biodiversity.

"That is why we chose to adopt the China technology and the first in the country to do so in Tawau, Sabah which we believe is suitable and presents a viable solution for the shortage and interruption of electricity supply in Sabah," he told a press conference, Thursday.

Also present were company chairman Azmi bin Dato' Mohd Yusoff, advisor Datuk Ismail Dahalan, consultant Gary Yap and corporate affairs deputy president George Chee.

Faizul said the company is ready but still waiting for approvals from Energy Commission, Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry (Kettha) and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (Sesb) on the power generation including purchase agreement.

"We are just waiting for these two authorities to come back to us and give us the go-ahead because for us, manufacturing and power generation complement each other.

"We will then start preparing the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report that will take about six to eight months.

"The CFRC project will propose a feed-in tariff of RM0.32 sen per kilowatt/hour that brings largest cost savings to the Government and SESB. As such, the project is anticipated to play a vital role in developing the Sabah's east coast region in the long run," he said.

The raw material lignite is high in moisture, low in impurities and less energy which they can get from Australia and Kalimantan. However, the company prefers to get it from Kalimantan which is closer.

He is very confident of getting the required approvals from the concerned authorities within this year and expect construction of the project to start sometime in middle of this year and completed in 2020 or 2021.

"We are also ready to employ 300 workers from different level of education to work in the CFRC where the first phase is expected to cost up to USD600 million consisting of the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) of the refinery plant as well as 440 megawatt power generation plants capable of generating circa 3.1 billion kilowatts per annum.

"The first phase will have the power plant, fuel refinery and water treatment plants as well as construction materials and fertiliser factory whereby briefly, the lignite is processed into semi-coke (upgraded lignite or clean fuel) to get rid of the pollutants and be burnt in combustion process to generate the electricity.

"In the combustion process, excess heat from the refining process converts water into steam propelling wind turbines to generate electricity," he said, adding that construction of second phase would depend on need and demand from SESB for more power as the CRFC can supply maximum capacity of between 1,000 to 1,200 megawatt in power generation.

Citing zero waste application, Faizul said the CFRC project will not rely on seawater for its cooling process nor will it release any waste into the ocean, hence preserving the neighbouring marine life and their ecological system.

He said the application also enables building bricks for constructional use to be produced from the ash residue while the extraction of volatile substances from the lignite will by-produce fertiliser for agriculture use and gypsum for civil interior use, all done in a closed and contained environment.

Concurrently, he CFRC project also produces a variety of high quality clean fuels such as Naphtha Gasoline, Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) and Light Diesel Oil that can be used for industrial fuel, and electricity generation, among others. - Hayati Dzulkifli

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