KUCHING: It is safe to use hydrogen fuel cell technology in public transport, a Sarawak assistant minister said.
Assistant Transport Minister Jerip Susil said research has shown that the use of hydrogen is also environmentally friendly.
However, he told the state assembly today that research and development are still being carried out before a decision is made on the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology in public transport.
Susil said the R&D results will determine the choice between hydrogen fuel cell and electricity.
Nevertheless, he said, countries such as Germany, Canada, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States have been using hydrogen fuel due to their established scientific technology.
“They have established safety standards and standard operating procedures to ensure that the technology is safe and sustainable,” he said.
Susil said RM16 million is being spent on R&D on the state’s integrated hydrogen plant and refuelling station.
He said the number of refuelling stations will depend on the overall study.
He said the contamination issue involving the plant and refuelling station, which is supplying hydrogen for three hydrogen-fuelled buses on a pilot run in the city, has been resolved by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and Linde EOX Sdn Bhd.
Linde EOX is the technology partner and system integrator for the pilot project.
Susil said the contamination was due to the difference in the pressure range used in the plant, adding that Sarawak Energy and Linde EOX will continue to impose stringent quality control measures.
On Wednesday, Violet Yong (PH-Pending) had expressed concern over the usage of hydrogen, saying the gas is known to be highly volatile and explosive.
She said a hydrogen gas leak at a fuelling station in Norway in June had caused injuries to two persons, resulting in all of Hyundai Norway’s hydrogen stations to be temporarily closed.
“Although Norway is one of the earliest countries to have deployed hydrogen as fuel, they still have problem with its volatility until today,” Yong said.
Yesterday, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How also pointed out that hydrogen is not environmentally friendly fuel as it contains sulphur hexafluoride or SF6 gas.
He said every kilogram of SF6 gas released into the air is equivalent to 1kg of carbon dioxide produced by a vehicle travelling 23,500km.
Susil told the house the state government will look into the issue raised by See.