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Sarawak school experiment shows green battery cuts costs, pollution

on 04 Januari 2011.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — A public-private sector experiment using lithium or green batteries to help power a school in remote Sarawak is proving to be a success and could be expanded nationwide to cut down on fuel costs and pollution.

The Public Works Department (PWD) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) worked with lithium-battery maker ETI Tech (M) Sdn Bhd for an Energy Storage Solution (ESS) that combined a diesel generator set with the lithium battery to provide electricity power in the Kapit school last November.

ETI Tech is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ETI Tech Corporation Berhad which is listed on Bursa Malaysia.

“Total savings from the pilot project showed fuel and maintenance costs could be cut down by almost 60 per cent and the payback period is within a year,” ETI Tech managing director K.K. Lee told The Malaysian Insider.

“In ringgit terms, the school saves almost RM500,000 a year and RM1.29 million over the expected life of the ESS after full payback,” he said.

Education authorities now spend a fortune to transport the diesel fuel and lead acid batteries to store power in more than 400 remote schools across Sarawak. Disposing of the lead acid batteries is also an issue due to the possibility of pollution, officials say.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Education Ministry is looking into alternative power supply such as green batteries to cut down costs and also help meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise for a 40 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2020.

“Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants to the schools to lead the charge on meeting Najib’s targets.” a government source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the deputy prime minister who is also in charge of education.

This has led the PWD and Unimas researchers to work on the green battery solution for remote schools as other methods of power production such as solar power and mini-hydro dams are costly and will need time to set up.

ETI Tech makes the batteries at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park and has been involved in several pilot projects to use lithium batteries to replace lead acid batteries which are harmful to the environment.

Lee revealed that the ESS to form a hybrid generator set was tested by the PWD at its research and development (R&D) laboratory before it was put for field trials at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Lepong Gaat in Kapit.

In the course of the pilot project, the school cut down usage of the diesel generator set from 14.5 hours a day to 10 hours while continuously charging the lithium batteries.

According to Lee, the lithium batteries are charged by the diesel generator sets which are usually set to peak load level despite uneven power consumption in the schools.

He said the hybrid system stores the excess energy and releases it when the diesel generators are switched off, in the process reducing the running time of the diesel generators from 14.5 hours to 10 hours, while extending electricity supply to school from the previous 14.5 hours to 24 hours, leading to more savings.

“The high charging and discharging efficiency of the lithium-based battery system allows up to 95 per cent of the energy to be recycled and used during the periods when the diesel generators are turned off,” Lee said.

Extracted from The Malaysian Insider.

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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