December 8, 2011

AMIC In Search Of That Special Algae

LANGKAWI, Dec 8 (Bernama) -- Selecting an optimal algae strain to produce jet fuel in Malaysia will be a top research priority in the first year of Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre's (AMIC) operation.

With RM15 million having been approved in spending for the first year, the industry-led research and technology centre is also eyeing innovative new standards in aero structure manufacturing and sustainable green aeronautic materials, as well as improved technologies for systems integration.

"Quickly identifying an effective algae strain for the production of jet fuel will open the way for future work in Malaysia and could lead to the country cementing a major leadership role in global biofuel production for the aviation industry," AMIC chief executive officer Datuk Rosdi Mahmud said.

Developed and championed by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), the centre is described as an innovative model which is expected to substantially improve the commercial success of aerospace research and development projects undertaken in Malaysia and boost private sector research and development (R&D) spending.

In a statement, MIGHT said, the centre was funded by RM40 million in grants from the Malaysian government, EADS and Rolls-Royce.

"The centre is an industry-driven organisation pairing industry demands for research and technology with local Malaysian capability from universities, including lead university, Universiti Putra Malaysia," it said.

AMIC co-chairs, Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid and EADS chief technical officer Dr Jean Botti, in a joint statement, said the centre was a significant step towards advancing Malaysia's national competency in the aerospace sector.

"This centre will help both the public and private sectors rally together to push for a renaissance of innovation," they said.

Dr Zakri, who is science advisor to the prime minister, noted that a prerequisite for technological advancement was R&D.

"Reaching the 10th Malaysia Plan goal of R&D investment of at least one per cent of GDP by 2015 will require creative new models to partner public and private sector interests in science, technology and innovation.

"AMIC is one of those creative new models," he said.

Ric Parker, director of research and technology at Rolls Royce, a lead member of AMIC, expressed confidence that AMIC would provide an innovative platform for all the lead members to work with local universities and companies to translate research into technologies that the aerospace sector could adopt.

Original article available here.

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