HISTORY OF OCEAN THERMAL ENERGY-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT IN MALAYSIA
UTM Ocean Thermal Energy Centre [http://otec.utm.my/] was established on 3 January 2013, and Emeritus Prof Dr Md Nor Musa was its first Director, and now, the Director is Prof Dato’ Ir Dr A. Bakar Jaafar, FASc. The main purpose of this Centre is as much to promote investment in the commercialisation of the ocean thermal energy conversion technology, as to undertake its further development, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Dato’ A. Bakar joined University Technology Malaysia, first as a Visiting Professor, UTM Perdana School of Science, Technology, and Innovation on 1 June 2012, and later, became a full Professor on 1 August 2013. Prior to this, he was nominated and elected as one of the 21 Members of the UNCLOS Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf [https://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/commission_members.htm#Members] over the three 5-year terms: 1997-2002, 2002-07, and 2007-12. He also served as an Adviser to the National Continental Shelf Committee, Secretariat to the National Security Council, Malaysia over that period, and responsible inter alia the Malaysian Marine Survey in the southern part of the South China Sea (2006-08) (MyMRS).
One of the consequential findings of the Survey was the temperature profiling of the deep waters of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, where the temperature drops at the surface from 27°C to 4°C at a depth greater than 1200m. Thus, Malaysia has since established its potential to extract the heat from the waters and convert it into power by deploying the fast emerging and most impactful ocean thermal energy conversion technology [https://issuu.com/asmpub/docs/eset_study_report, pages 92-93].
The latest development is that, through the Centre, UTM has entered into Agreement with Saga University on 27 March 2019 to undertake joint “Development of Advanced Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Technology for Low Carbon Society and Sustainable Energy System: First Experimental OTEC Plant in Malaysia” under the JST-JICA Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) Programme (https://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/about.html) over the five-year period, 2019-24.