19 April, 2024 Member article

H2Energy replace batteries with hydrogen in off-grid Malaysia

Rural Sarawak generally rely on diesel generators that is both costly and polluting, often failing after 4 to 5 years due to poor servicing and maintenance. Solar batteries (lead acid) hybrid systems have been deployed in some off-grid facilities to reduce generator reliance. However, batteries also have limited lifespans of 3-5 years (and shortened further by excessive discharge), requiring costly periodic replacements. Meanwhile, hydrogen fuel cell is a viable alternative storage medium – minimal maintenance or supply at site, easy to operate and maintain, scalable for current and future power requirements, and lack the disadvantages of batteries.

Lack of reliable energy access
Most of these rural communities have been left behind in terms of economic and social development. These communities are cut-off from mainstream civilization and have little or no access to energy essential to modern living. Reliable electricity access is a bedrock to improve community welfare, as reliable energy provides essential lighting, refrigeration of foodstuff and medicines and to power the filtration of clean and potable water, a critical element for community health.

DRE offers the cleanest, cheapest and smartest solution to electrify rural facilities in most cases.

While replacing generators with DRE remains the ultimate objective, the existing solar batteries are also due for replacement soon. To this, we are discussing with the Government to replace these batteries with our solar+hydrogen technology.

Long Bedian Village – Battery replacement project
Long Bedian, population 3,000, is a remote village in Baram, Sarawak relies on solar battery and diesel generators for 30% and 70% of its power requirements respectively. The village has 2 homestays, a telecommunications tower and a water treatment plant. We visited the village and performed a technical study with a view towards developing, installing and maintaining renewable energy systems based on hydrogen (H2Energy) comprising of solar panels, hydrogen energy storage tanks and power module for solar energy conversion to stored hydrogen energy and used during non-productive hours.

A robust and proven technology, ARE Member H2Energy offers 24/7 power availability, fool-proof operations and is modular, highly suitable for rural and remote areas. Cost effective and eco-friendly, the cradle to grave impact of fuel cells is much more sustainable than batteries and is zero-emission.

If successful, Long Bedian will be the first village in Malaysia to be powered by green hydrogen as well as the first green powered microgrid.