Researchers at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) and Azhar Food Industries – both in the Malaysian state of Johor – have collaborated to install a mini biodiesel plant in the latter’s factory.
Azhar Food Industries makes potato chips and crisps for the local market. The company previously had problems disposing of excess cooking oil, waste material that can be damaging if released into the environment.
Professor Dr Sulaiman Bin Haji Hassan, dean of the faculty of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at UTHM, said the project would contribute to the efficient use of a sustainable, renewable energy source in line with Malaysia’s development policy of promoting renewable energy as an alternative to traditional fuels.
“Biodiesel is an environmentally friendly, alternative fuel prepared from domestic resources such as palm oil that can be used in normal diesel engine cars and buses without any engine modification,” he explained.
“It can be used either in the pure form (B100) or as blends in conventional diesel engines, and it is biodegradable. Johor, being a state abundant with palm oil plantations, is the perfect place for us to test and manufacture this kind of energy,” Sulaiman explained.
The mini biodiesel plant at Azhar’s factory is already producing fuel that can run the company’s truck fleet, which is used for daily transportation of food products.
Meanwhile, De La Salle University – Dasmariñas in the Philippines is setting its own carbon footprint in order through using electric vehicles.
eJeepneys, supplied by national manufacturer PhUV (Philippine Utility Vehicle) Inc, are used to transport students within its 27-hectare site as part of a drive to achieve a carbon-neutral campus.
Two eJeepneys were purchased by a parent-lecturer body called The Parents’ Organisation of Lasalle Cavite. It owns and operate the vehicles, charging PHP6 (US$0.14) for each passenger, from which one peso is paid to the driver while another peso is channelled into the university scholarship fund.
Each eJeepney runs on a battery that needs charging for eight hours. “At the battery station, an eJeepney goes into a loading bay where the used battery is taken and replaced with a charged one – the entire [changeover] process takes about 10 minutes,” said Dr Carmelyn Cortez-Antig, a lecturer at the university.
Replacing a used battery with a fully charged unit costs PHP220 (about US$5) and provides for some 115 kilometres of travel, she said. Each eJeepney avoids the discharge of more than 62 kilograms of carbon dioxide exhaust emission per day.
The Malaysian and Philippine projects were presented at the recent AsiaEngage “Regional Conference on Higher Education-Industry-Community Engagement in Asia: Forging Meaningful Partnerships”, held at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, on the outskirts of the capital city Kuala Lumpur.
AsiaEngage is a platform by means of which a group of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) universities, regional networks and programmes share expertise, knowledge and experience in community engagement.