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Prototype soon generate electricity for rural areas

on 05 Jun 2010.

KUCHING:  A hybrid prototype, based on the ‘floating micro hydro turbine’ to produce sustainable energy, will be created to generate electricity for rural Sarawak.Currently under research and developmental, construction of the prototype would commence after the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Works Department (JKR) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) at the university yesterday.

The project named ‘Sustainable Instream Horizontal Micro Hydro Turbine Generator’ (Jarimas in short) is a combination of JKR’s ‘Applied Research and Innovation’ (Jari) and Unimas, where it will be constructed.

Speaking at the press conference after the signing, JKR director-general Datuk Sri Prof Dr Judin Abdul Karim said: “The hybrid prototype would take 12 months to complete before it can go for field testing in a river. It is the first of its kind in the world – the research would cost us about RM1.2 million.”

Dr Judin said the hybrid prototype would be built using the green technology concept and be complemented (installed) by solar technology so it can continue providing power during the dry season.

“The uniqueness of the prototype is the horizontal floating turbine which is more stable and able to generate more power compared to the vertical ones. Most importantly, our prototype must be as economical, robust and practical as possible,” he added.

Dr Judin said the hydro concept was the most cost-effective and environment-friendly due to its sustainability.

“We have many rivers which add to our strength and opportunity. The strong river current provides an alternative for our energy resource and it should be further exploited.

“The floating concept to harvest energy from this strong current has big potential that will change the hydro generating landscape.

“This concept is easy to implement, does not effect the environment and will save the government millions of dollars in implementation in the rural areas,” he explained.

Speaking at the ceremony, Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid said providing electricity for rural areas of Sarawak was a big issue as many areas do not have basic infrastructure.

“The state electrical grid network has not reached many people due to the deep forests, scattered population and difficult accessibility in the absence of roads. If the prototype works, it would benefit a lot of communities, especially rural schools,” he said.

The project could be implemented in schools and communities located near rivers with swift currents.

Among the areas earmarked for the programme would be 89 schools categorised under Level 3 (P3) of rural areas with no road access, are not on the electricity grid and solely dependent on diesel generators.

The schools under the P3 category in the state are: Marudi with 24; Kapit (21); Simunjan and Balaga (eight each); Julau (seven); Song and Tatau (five); Lubok Antu, Selangau and Lawas (two each) while Saratok, Sebauh and Betong (one each).

“The state has long and wide rivers and swift currents with the potential to generate electricity of up to 20-30 kilowatts – most of these areas are not on the main grid. This is where Jarimas comes in handy,” Dr Khairuddin said.

The project will be headed by JKR’s senior chief engineer Kamarul Bahrin Mohd who will be the technical team leader. He will lead a 20-man team of six JKR and 14 Unimas personnel to work on the project at a lab set up on the campus. Heading the Unimas team will be Dr Al-Khalid Othman.

Also present were Unimas assistant vice-chancellor (academic and international) Prof Dr Fatimah Abang, assistant vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Prof Dr Peter Songan, assistant vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Associate Prof Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman, Engineering Faculty dean Prof Dr Wan Hashim Wan Ibrahim, JKR research and innovation department assistant director Datuk Prof Dr Ashaari Mohamad and corporate management department director Datuk Abdullah Abdul Rahman.

Extracted from The Borneo Post Online.

Arkib Berita

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia Telephone: +60 82581000/+60 82581388, Fax: +60 82 665 088, Email: corporate@unimas.my
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Tarikh terakhir kemaskini: Khamis 28 Januari 2016.

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