KUANTAN, MALAYSIA - Universiti Malaysia Pahang is set to create history by being the first local university to have its own plant recycling used engine oil and lubricant using technology developed by its own researcher.
The RM3.8 million (S$1.6 million) plant in Gebeng here, which was set up in a joint venture between UMP's subsidiary, UMP Green Technology Sdn Bhd, and Urban Environmental Industries Sdn Bhd, is expected to start operations this month.
UMP's researcher and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (research and innovation) Professor Datuk Dr Rosli Mohd Yunus, who developed the technology to process the oil, which is listed as scheduled waste, said it was the result of of 12 years of research.
He said the plant was part of UMP's effort to generate its own income by commercialising the results of its research following the government's decision to reduce allocations to public universities from this year.
With a RM4.7 million grant from the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry, Rosli, who headed UMP Green Technology, approached the private company in 2008 with the idea of teaming up to produce recycled engine oil using the new technology.
"We were able to interest the company which is already running a recycling plant in Gebeng since 2005 using a slightly different technology, on a partnership.
"It was a slow, painstaking process of building a new plant located on their site."
UMP expects to earn RM100,000 a month from the venture.
Rosli said UMP also had a second project involving a new recycling plant to treat palm oil byproducts in Pulau Indah in Klang, which was also expected to be operational in a few months.
"It was a learning process for us too as being researchers, we can be too comfortable with coming up with new inventions without fully understanding whether it will be practical in the real world.
"Working on the plant gave us that valuable experience which will make us better teachers and it has been a labour of love.
"The plant will not only help generate income for the university but also become an extension of our 'lab' as we can take our students there for practical training."
He said the technology used at the plant in Gebeng was more refined than the ones currently being used to treat dirty black oil and was more economical and environment-friendly.
To ensure a steady supply of used engine oil, UMP secured a deal with manufacturing giants like Perodua and Scania, and government agencies like the Fire and Rescue Department which generate huge amounts of this waste.
"We have already secured an agreement with an American-based company which wants our entire production stock to produce multi-grade engine oil.
"The plant is the first of hopefully many projects that will be commercialised. We have secured a piece of land beside the plant site in Gebeng for future expansion."
-New Straits Times