Developing the Fibre and Biocomposite Industry in Malaysia
The Fibre and Biocomposite Development Centre (FIDEC) was established to spearhead the development of the fibre and biocomposite industry in Malaysia. Established in September 2006 as a focal point for information on pre-commercialisation activities and coordination of Research & Development (R&D) exclusively for the biocomposite industry in Malaysia, the objectives of FIDEC are :-
• To stimulate interest in and to enhance the utilization of fibre and biocomposite materials in the country,
• To facilitate pre-commercialisation of fibre and biocomposite materials,
• To establish vital linkages and smart partnerships with universities, research institutions and the industry towards commercialization of R&D findings related to fibre and biocomposites,
• To coordinate the overall development of the fibre and biocomposite industry in Malaysia.
Alternative Resources of the Future
Malaysia has vast amounts of untapped natural fibre materials available from the agricultural sector. These fibre and biomass materials range from rice husks, coconut trunk fibres, kenaf to oil palm biomass in the form of oil palm trunks (OPT), oil palm fronds (OPF) and empty fruit bunches (EFB) which can serve as alternative resources for the future and have the potential to be commercially manufactured into a range of composite products such as plywood, fibreboards, flooring, wall panels, door stiles and door jambs to fibre-filled thermoplastic and thermoset composites, as well as other value-added products. FIDEC will spearhead the growth and development of the fibre and biocomposite industry in Malaysia.
The Way Forward
FIDEC will initiate smart linkages with institutions of higher learning, universities, R&D agencies and government departments to enter into research and development projects geared towards wider utilization of natural fibres and for new product development.
Next Generation of Biomaterial
Natural fibres have excellent physical and mechanical properties and such fibres can be used to produce composite products for various end-uses. Natural fibres are thus the next generation of biomaterial for the future.
Turning Biomass to Wealth
Natural fibres which would otherwise not be utilized and therefore be considered as waste materials can be further researched into, and developed into viable products which can be marketed both domestically and overseas. This would open up new areas of growth as well as a new industry in based on fibres and biocomposite materials for Malaysia.
The utilization of biocomposite materials will gain momentum in the years to come as products manufactured from natural fibres and biocomposite materials gain popularity. These products would be considered as being environmentally friendly products since they are manufactured from waste materials which would otherwise be disposed of through incineration.