KUCHING, July 6 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), in collaboration with Mitsubishi Corporation, is expected to launch one of the largest outdoor algae cultivation facilities in Southeast Asia next month.
The SBC-Mitsubishi algae cultivation facility is located in the heart of Sarawak’s research valley in Semenggoh near here and is expected to yield up to 60 tonnes per hectare per year equivalent dried algal biomass.
SBC chief executive officer Dr Yeo Tiong Chia said the facility, designed in collaboration with Japan-based Chitose Group and built at a cost of RM1.5 million, was completed in November 2018.
“The SBC-Mitsubishi algae cultivation facility represents the culmination of a collaboration between the two organisations initiated in 2012, with the aim to identify useful microalgae indigenous to Sarawak for biomass, feedstock, biofuel, food, or health supplement production.
“With the renewable energy thrust for algae as a source of biofuel continuing to gain traction globally, the high lipid and carotenoid yields observed in Sarawak’s indigenous microalgae strains represent a great potential,” he said in a statement here today.
Yeo said Sarawak, with its abundance of sunlight and freshwater and a stable temperature throughout the year, has long been considered an ideal environment for maximising outdoor cultivation of microalgae for production of commercial products, including cosmetics, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, biofuels, fertilisers, food and feedstocks.
“The high yields and cost efficiencies provided by our new facility represent a unique competitive advantage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Corporation Kuala Lumpur Branch general manager Genichi Ichikawa was confident the collaboration effort would contribute to the creation of bio-industry in Sarawak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg is expected to launch the facility in August.