TNB Research pushing forward commercialisation through innovation

The talent at work at the national utility firm has seen its foray into technical solutions and innovation resulting in value creation of about 6 times its investment last year

By TMR

TNB Research Sdn Bhd (TNBR), the in-house solution provider for Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), has been diligently pushing forward the commercialisation of its work. And there is quite a bit of success from the talent at work at the Kajang-based outfit.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse system and pilot biogas plant are just two examples of the various projects undertaken at TNBR.

Last year, TNBR saw the fruits of its foray into technical solutions and innovation resulting in the value creation of about six times the RM120 million it invested in research and development (R&D).

“The value created was about six times the value spent — in terms of process, efficiency and so forth,” TNBR chief strategy officer Dr Mohd Fadzil Mohd Siam said at the recent TNB Research Open Day 2019.

“We have collaborated with foreign parties from South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, for instance, to commercialise our products, not just for TNB, but for the global market,” he added at the event officiated by Deputy Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.

The CO2 greenhouse system and the pilot biogas plant fall under the ambit of TNBR head of unit in renewable energy (RE) and green technology (REGT) Noraziah Muda @ Omar. There is also the smart grid project which falls under the care of Dr Looe Hui Mun, who is the principal researcher with smart grid.

Isnaraissah (fourth from left) visiting the smart grid booth at the recent TNB Research Open Day 2019

TNBR’s REGT unit focuses on extensive research to optimise REGT in sustaining a healthy environment. Shifting towards viable and sustainable RE system, the unit was costumed to undertake application-oriented research activities on RE areas which provide overall solutions from RE generation to interconnection and TNB network.

To support the effort, REGT undertakes R&D in the area of grid-connected floating solar system design, solar resource assessment, photo-voltaic (PV) performance and reliability, wind energy measurement and design of hybrid solar PV system for electric-vehicle charging station.

Aiming for a greener environment, REGT capitalises on its expertise and research projects to reduce carbon emissions to the environment by embarking on projects such as carbon capture and utilisation, and integrated gasification combine cycle, biomass gasification and biogas production from food waste.

Proactively, REGT is also tapping the potential of biological CO2 fixation using microalgae as the agent to turn emission or waste into commodities. It envisions that CO2 from its power plants can be transformed into useful commodities for other industries, in conformity with industrial ecology and circular economy framework.

The CO2 greenhouse system features a research facility to study the effectiveness of CO2 utilisation by crops plantation. It is able to conduct experiment on different levels of CO2. It is also equipped with a complete set of sensors as well as data logging and monitoring system for CO2, humidity and temperature.

What is the end in mind? It is a test bed for optimisation of greenhouse culture conditions on crops plantation towards CO2 utilisation.

The pilot biogas plant, on the other hand, is a pilot facility of anaerobic digester suitable for high solid organic such as food waste.

The system showcases sustainable initiative to turn organic waste into green energy. It is said to be equipped with feeding system and biogas monitoring system. The system has been designed complete with a generation set to demonstrate biogas utilisation for heat and energy, according to information shared in “TenagaPRO: Technology Guidebook 2019”.

Four Books Launched

TNBR has also been striving hard to document its R&D progress for the benefit of the wider array of stakeholders. At the same event, it launched four books. They are “TNB Product Quality Assurance Policy”, “TenagaPRO: Technology Guidebook 2019”, “Hulu Terengganu Hydro-electric Project: Towards Conservation of Biodiversity” and “Program Pengurusan Bencana Empangan Berteraskan Komuniti Secara Bersepadu” (Dam Disaster Management Programme Centred on Community Involvement).

The coffee table book on the Hulu Terengganu hydroelectric project provides information on conservation activities jointly conducted by TNB, through TNBR, and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), to enable the community to be aware of issues on environment that can be balanced with economic and social developments.

The quality assurance policy book is based on 10 key quality assurance practices approved by the TNB group executive committee aimed at ensuring TNB is able to provide continuous and reliable electricity supply to its customers.

The technology guidebook is meant to intensify the promotion of expertise and spur commercialisation efforts locally, as well as abroad. — TMR