Mosti mobilises team to investigate debris discovery in Sarawak

The burning debris has already been recorded falling around the Sulu Sea, says Mosti minister

by AUFA MARDHIAH /Pic by Aufa Mardhiah

THE Malaysian Space Agency (MYSA) is expecting the remaining debris of China’s Long March 5B rocket to fall into the ocean. 

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (centre) the burning debris has already been recorded falling around the Sulu Sea, which is an area at latitude 9.1° North and longitude 119.0° East.

“The event reinforced the importance of the MYSA Act and the Space Authority division in ensuring national security and any actions that can be implemented at the local and international levels. 

“The Malaysian Space Board Act 2022 [Act 834] was gazetted by the government on Jan 25, 2022. It also includes the management of incidents and accidents related to space objects,” he told the media at the SPAC Business Combination Agreement signing ceremony yesterday.

Under provisions 41 and 43 of Act 834, if anyone suspects or sees any re-entry incident, they must not tamper with, remove, take, damage or destroy any suspicious object suspected from this re-entry incident.

They are to call 999 or Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation’s (Mosti) Space Authority division and make a voluntary report.

“It would be better if a video recording could be made at the time of the incident to help the investigation. They are also advised to not start any publicity and spread any information related to this re-entry,” he added. 

On the discovery of an object suspected to be debris from a Long March 5B rocket in Pekan Sepupok Lama, Niah Sarawak, Dr Adham added that Mosti has mobilised an investigative team yesterday (Monday) which consists of the Space Authority division, Mosti, MYSA and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board. 

The team will cooperate with the Miri police and other authorities in carrying out the investigation. 

“Mosti will report the results of this investigation in the near future,” he said.

Yesterday, the minister witnessed the merging agreement between Graphjet Technology Sdn Bhd and Energem Corp, a Nasdaq-listed SPAC.

It will see Graphjet become a publicly listed company and trade on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “GTI”.

Graphjet also signed a memorandum of understanding with Toyoda Trike Corp and Asia Development Capital Ltd.

Graphjet’s targeted listing date is in October 2022, with a pro forma enterprise value of US$1.49 billion (RM6.63 billion) upon listing. 

Moreover, the business combination will provide Graphjet around US$115 million to be used for business expansion.

With four years of research, Graphjet has developed a revolutionary patented technology to transform palm kernel shells into graphene from an average price of US$300 to US$450 per gramme to US$20 and US$25 per gramme.

The first-of-its-kind technology has numerous potentials in advanced applications, including advanced batteries for vehicles and power storage.

The success of the development of the patented technology was done in collaboration with international researchers namely Imperial College London, Kwansai Gakuin University, Shibaura Institute of Technology; as well as Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka as local technology higher institutions’ research partners.

Dr Adham said Nano Malaysia Bhd, an agency under Mosti, has been tasked to implement the National Graphene Action Plan 2020 (NGAP 2020) under the 11th Malaysia Plan which focuses on electrical and electronic (conductive ink); rubber additives; plastic additives; nanofluids and energy storage (lithium-ion batteries); and ultracapacitors.

“Under NGAP 2020, 61 projects have been activated and 40 intellectual properties have been filed involving 50 local SME companies and startups. 

“These projects have created over 15,000 job opportunities for Malaysians,” he said.

He added that the development of the electric vehicle (EV) sector is closely related to the use of graphene technology, where graphene batteries are more durable and have a longer life cycle, and eliminates concerns in safety issues arising from lithium-ion batteries such as an explosion.

Graphene batteries are also shown to be capable of high energy density that can make longer journeys without having to stop and recharge the battery for EV.

“Mosti also suggested that Graphjet cooperates with NanoMalaysia Bhd, especially in the supply chain and development of downstream products and applications with graphene. 

“In addition, Graphjet is also encouraged to obtain GrapheneVerify certification to gain domestic and international recognition,” Dr Adham added.

Meanwhile, Graphjet Technology Sdn Bhd chairman Lim Hooi Beng said it is the only company in Malaysia that produces graphite and graphene from palm oil kernels.

“We have revolutionised the world’s industry by making more than 10,000 products available in mass production at a lower cost and higher quality, thus increasing the economic impact.

“Today, I would like to announce that Toyoda has been granted the exclusive rights to distribute GT’s graphite and graphene products in Japan.

The exclusive distributorship agreement with Toyoda will generate significant earnings growth for both companies and is expected to contribute around US$30 million of revenue per year for Graphjet.

He added that Graphjet will set up its manufacturing plant in Kuantan, Pahang for its growth trajectory, which can improve gross profit margin of the products to around 60%.

“Given the ample source of raw materials (palm kernel) in Malaysia, this gives us a competitive advantage in terms of the logistics and sourcing of the raw materials for our production.

“The applications of graphene in renewable energy segments and our production using renewable sources put us as one of the leaders in the push towards net zero emissions in carbon globally,” Lim added.

Many applications of graphene are currently in development, with early success seen in smartphone touchscreens, batteries, electric vehicles, inks and composite and filtration technologies.