Friday, April 25, 2008


Japanese giant firm picks Sabah
Yanmar opens R&D centre for biomass-derived fuels


Well-known Japanese giant company, Yanmar Co Ltd, has chosen Sabah to be the centre of its global research and development (R&D.) network for developing biomass-derived fuels. The Oasaka-based company established in 1912, is the first to develop Japanese practical small size diesel engines. It has a strong footing in research and development in various countries, including UK, India, Indonesia and Thailand particularly on alternative fuels such as FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), waste cooking oil, rapeseed oil and palm oil. Taking advantage of the State’s rich biomass source, it has recently opened its Yanmar Kota Kinabalu Research and Development Centre in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP). The centre which officially opened end of January, is poised to be the research and development centre for the region as well as the hub for environmental technology and information. Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Masahiko Hone earlier this week visited the facility which has already started researches and working on developing a 100 percent pure biomass derived fuel. “The centre will be overseeing the activities and collaborating with other Yanmar Research and Development Centres throughout the world. It will monitor and supervise biodiesel projects in India and UK,” he told reporters here last night. He said Sabah’s ecosystem is one of the most important mega biodiversities in the world and the Japanese, being a close partner of Malaysia, is interested in continuing to take an active part in activities promoting environmental conservation, such as developing an environmental friendly fuel. With increasing environmental awareness among companies and consumers and clean energy is rapidly gaining prominence, he said bio-diesel is offering an interesting prospect as the fuel of the future. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, which is the main feedstock for biodiesel. In 2005, the country formulated the National Biofuel Policy (sometimes known as the National Biodiesel Policy) to call for production of a biofuel blend of five percent processed palm oil and 95 percent diesel known as B5. The policy encourages the use of this blend by the public, establishes an industry standard for palm biodiesel quality and promotes the setting up of biodiesel plants in the country for export purposes.