Malaysia has introduced the B20 palm biodiesel programme. B20 is made up of 20% palm biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. It is currently available in Langkawi and Labuan and will be available in phases starting with Sarawak in April 2020, Sabah later in August and Peninsular Malaysia in June 2021.
Petroleum companies such as PETRONAS, Shell, Petron, Chevron and BHPetroleum will have B20 supplied in phases to over 3,400 petrol stations across Malaysia in line with the implementation plan of the B20 Programme.
Previously, the government had mandated the B10 Programme (10% palm biodiesel and 90% petroleum diesel) in the transportation sector on February 1, 2019 and the B7 Programme (7% palm diesel and 93% petroleum diesel) in the industry sector on July 1, 2019.
“The implementation of the B20 Programme in the transportation sector will support demand for palm oil and stabilise its prices,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah when launching the programme, here today.
For retail consumers, Euro5 B7 diesel is still being sold at selected petrol stations while in highlands such as Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands in Pahang, and Kundasang in Sabah, petrol stations will continue to supply the B7 diesel.
The implementation of the B20 Programme in the transportation sector is a proactive move by the Government to promote domestic palm oil consumption with an estimated increase of palm oil usage of 534,000 tonnes per annum.
Through the implementation of the B20 Programme in the transportation sector and the continuation of the B7 Programme in the industrial sector, about 1.3 million tonnes of palm oil annually will be used locally and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions amounting to 3.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents annually.
Meanwhile, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said that her ministry and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) had conducted B20 field tests for the collection of technical data and coordinated technical consultation sessions with stakeholders.
She also said that her ministry and MPOB had collaborated with government agencies including five local Selangor authorities, Kajang Municipal Council, Subang Jaya Municipal Council, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, Shah Alam City Council and Selayang Municipal Council in conducting B20 field tests.
In addition, vehicle distributors such as Tan Chong Industrial Equipment and Hyundai Sime Darby Motors as well as transport companies such as FGV Transport Services Sdn Bhd and SOP Transport Sdn. Bhd were also involved in the B20 test trial.
A total of 35 vehicles from Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and MPOB, which have been using the B20 since June 2019 have not reported any problem to date. Meanwhile, MPI, MPOB and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) conducted a B20 blend study of Euro 5 technology vehicles in collaboration with automotive experts from Mazda Malaysia and the Malaysian Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute with support from the Department of Road Transport and the Department of Environment.
“This study, which is the first conducted by JAMA on Euro 5 vehicles, is divided into two laboratory studies, at the Japan Automotive Research Institute which is expected to be completed in April 2020 and a field study using two Mazda CX-5 cars in Malaysia,” said Teresa.
MPOB has also conducted studies using B30 with six local universities, namely University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Tun Hussein Onn University Malaysia, Technical University.
While this is a good initiative by the government to stabilise crude palm oil prices, it has to be noted that palm oil is used in other sectors as a raw material, including food production. Demand from (for example) food production may be low not but it is hoped that the authorities will be able to find a balance between supply of palm oil and the demand for it should the demand from food and other sectors pick up, as well as keeping prices steady.
As to its suitability for modern diesel engines, it is for the manufacturers to advise its customers.