Nov 22, 2012

Brunei - Need to tap new energy resources

MORE research needs to be conducted into developing renewable energy sources, a senior official from the Prime Minister's Office said yesterday at the First International Conference on Sustainable Future Energy 2012.

"Increased application of renewable energy sources (is a) clear way to meet increasing oil and gas demand," Hj Azhar Hj Yahya, permanent secretary (upstream) at the Prime Minister's Office, said.

More than a hundred local and international visitors attended the conference, which was held alongside the 10th Sustainable Energy and Environment Forum at the Centrepoint Hotel, Gadong.

Hj Azhar said advances in technology had made renewable energy more affordable. "We have already seen how the overall cost of producing solar cells, for example, has decreased dramatically over the last ten years through technological research," he said, adding that the next generation of flexible solar cells was likely to fall further.

The permanent secretary praised the research into green technology being conducted at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) that is being backed by the Energy Research Group, with the support of the Energy Department and the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

He said considerable advances had been made into low-cost solid oxide fuel cells, high efficiency dye sensitised solar cells, low-speed wind turbines and thin film and coatings for energy conservation and generation.

The permanent secretary added that the next phase of research and development funding should be targeted at design, manufacturing and commercialisation of functional materials, energy materials, energy devices and systems to assist the diversification of the Brunei economy, in addition to upstream and downstream oil and gas industries.

He also praised UBD for investing in a new science and technology research building, as well as developments in training local Bruneians in various areas of renewable energy sources.

"With the introduction of a new fully integrated technology degree in August 2013, I am confident that UBD will take up the challenge and provide training opportunities to local technologists with practical skills in design and manufacturing," he said.


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