Japan’s Chitose Group to Expand the First Industrial Microalgae Production in Sarawak

Mar 2024

Sarawak’s inaugural industrial microalgae production project, known as the Chitose Carbon Capture Central Sarawak (C4 Sarawak), is poised for substantial expansion across a sprawling area of 100 hectares. At present, C4 Sarawak stands as the largest microalgae production facility globally, spearheaded by Japan-based biotechnology giant, the Chitose Group.

Collaborating with local partners Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), the project commenced in May 2023 in Sejingkat, Sarawak state. The initial phase, featuring a five-hectare microalgae production facility, has been successfully completed, with full-scale production already underway. The company has outlined plans to expand C4 Sarawak to cover 2,000 hectares by 2030, with preliminary estimates suggesting an annual production capacity of up to 140,000 tons of algae biomass. Microalgae biomass holds immense potential for diverse commercial applications, ranging from jet fuel and paints to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Sarawak’s selection as the microalgae farming hub stems from its conducive climate, abundant freshwater resources, and favorable geographical positioning, safeguarded against major natural calamities. Additionally, Sarawak’s strategic location grants it convenient access to key international markets such as Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, and China, further enhancing its appeal as a production hub. With global airline regulations mandating the inclusion of bio-jet fuel in aviation fuels by 2027, Sarawak’s foray into mass-producing bio-jet fuel from microalgae biomass presents a lucrative opportunity. The region aspires to export bio-jet fuel to neighboring Southeast Asian nations, the United States, and Europe.

(Sources: New Sarawak Tribune; Sarawak Energy)

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