After Vietnam, we headed to Malaysia. With a GDP per capita just short of $10k and a steady 4% annual economy growth, it is the most developed nation in SE Asia. The first sight of the capital city, Kuala Lumpur reassured us, that the country is doing really well. One high-rise after another, dominated by the KL Tower and the world famous Petronas towers.
The main reason we came to this metropole, was to participate in the IGEM – green tech and eco products exhibition as a part of the delegation of entrepreneurs and companies invited by the Czech Embassy. On Monday evening, we met up with Vojtěch, the economic officer of the Czech Embassy, who organized the delegation and answered our questions prior to arrival. We enjoyed a dinner in the busy “Jalan Alor” together with several Czechs who had already arrived.
The following day, we met up with the complete group and visited the Bunus waste water treatment plant operated by Indah Water Konsortium. The plant, constructed by Hitachi and brought to operation in 2007, serves to 350.000 inhabitants of KL, but is capable of doing twice as much. As a consequence of cleaning millions of liters water, the plant has to landfill 30 tons of dewatered sludge and flare off 3.000m3 of biogas every day.
From left to right: Mr. Mahes from AVAS, Mr. Tomáš Ledajaks from Solbien, Mr Vojtěch Hromek, HE Mr. Rudolf Hykl from the Czech Embassy, Mr Lukáš Křenovský from Asean engineering, the Flo-Bro’s Robin and Radek, Mr. Nathee Theepot from Solbien and Mr. Ahmed from Indah Water.
Our day followed by visiting the Malaysia Green Tech Corporation in Melaka for Business Matching and company presentations. The historical port carries many marks of its colonists, the Dutch and the Portuguese. In the past, it was one of the most significant trade hubs of the region, but later got overtaken by Singapore. Now, helped by a financial injection from China, the regional government wants to put Melaka back on the world map. A modern container-ship port will be built as well as resorts to attract wider tourism.
The city’s motto “Don’t mess with Melaka” makes it clear that sustainability and waste management are priorities on its new development journey.
On Wednesday, the IGEM conference has begun. We could witness a large number of Malaysian and international companies, presenting their products and services pertinent to the green sector. The European Union was represented by the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary and Poland. EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted an afternoon of B2B talks on its stand. We very much enjoyed the company of Adeline and Johannes, who created a part of the program and ensured a smooth running of the stand.
It became apparent that the focus of the event lied on energy, particularly photovoltaics. Companies from across Asia occupied pretty much the entirety of the halls 2 and 3. The competition must be gigantic, judging by almost identical portfolios of all the present exhibitors. An interesting product we spotted among the sea of solar panels was Albeedo, an IR light reflective foil from a Japanese company Dexerials. This foil is applied to the windows of the large glass buildings and prevents heat from getting inside and thus saves the bills for AC. In contrast to the mirror like “metallized windows” this foil contains microscopic corrugations, which ensure reflection of light upwards and not downwards. This ensures that fiascos such as the “walkie talkie” skyscraper, famous for melting a car, do not happen.
To take a break from the exhibition, we headed for the Petronas towers. I’ve been wanting to visit these buildings since I watched a documentary on Discovery channel 15 years ago. The view was gorgeous and the technology which enabled the construction of these behemoths was truly breathtaking.
On the following day at IGEM, we presented Flo-Bro to a larger audience and got a great response from a number of consumers and companies. Apparently, the Malaysian private sector is interested in innovative solutions for water treatment.
Friday marked the last day of our visit. The exhibition halls were noticeably emptier than on the other days and all the exhibitors seemed exhausted. Clearly, standing still for a whole day in a heavily air-conditioned room without a ray of natural light takes a toll on the body and soul. We took the opportunity to lead long chats with the exhibitors, arrange a visit to a university, and I could take Renault Twizy on a ride around the KLCC. The delegation tour was rounded up by a dinner reception at the residency of HE of the Czech Republic, a great opportunity to caucus with the guests about the culture of Malaysia, Europe and our impressions from IGEM.
Many thanks to the Czech Ambassador Mr. Rudolf Hykl for offering us the opportunity to participate in this event, and Vojtech and Adeline for organizing the events which made our visit particularly enjoyable and educative. We believe, Malaysia and Flo-Bro will do some business together in the near future!