UTM Ocean Thermal Energy Centre known as UTM OTEC, was established on 3 January 2013. Emeritus Prof. Dr. Md Nor Musa was its first Director, followed by Prof. Dato’ Ir. Dr. A. Bakar Jaafar, FASc. Starting June 2020, Ts. Dr. Sathiabama T. Thirugnana is leading this centre as the Director. The main purpose of UTM OTEC is to promote investment in the commercialisation of the ocean thermal energy conversion technology, as to undertake its further development, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship without leaving behind the educational element for human capital development in OTEC technology.
After 2 years of its establishment, UTM OTEC convened the 3rd International OTEC Symposium at UTM Kuala Lumpur Campus on 1–2 September 2015. The 3rd IOS KL 2015 saw 200 OTEC experts, speakers, and participants from all over the world including France, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Sudan, Sweden, USA and Malaysia. There were 15 topical presentations at the plenary, two videos, and 20 paper presentations during two parallel workshop sessions. All contributions had provided up-to-date knowledge sharing among the researchers and set the direction for OTEC community to do future research and development including commercialization.
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, 2019–2024. This Project is led by UTM Ocean Thermal Energy Centre (UTM OTEC) under the leadership of its Director and supported by 10 sub-project leaders from five universities: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), University of Malaya (UM), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
Author: A. Bakar Jaafar, Azrin Ariffin, Sathiabama T. Thirugnana