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The government will push ahead with the B10 biodiesel plan despite concerns on suitability, but consumers will get a choice. This follows the hasty introduction of the 10% palm oil blend last month, and subsequent postponement after carmakers voiced their concerns.

“The B10 standard, which has been in development since 2013, has been given the provisional standard under MS 2535:2013(P). In this context, the government will ensure that all B10 sold in the country complies with this standard. Currently, a number of automotive manufacturers including Mercedes Benz, Scania, Peugeot, UD Truck and Volvo Truck had indicated acceptance of B10,” MPIC told The Sun.

The ministry added that there was extensive consultation with stakeholders such as Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), Malaysian Automobile Association (MAA), petroleum companies and biodiesel producers ahead of the B10 programme. Additionally, the government through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) had conducted B10 field trials on 75 vehicles since January 2013.

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“The trials indicates no negative effects such as engine oil dilution, fuel filter plugging and fuel injector clogging. Currently, some MPOB vehicles are also running on B20 without any problem reported,” it said.

From feedback obtained through test results and field trials, the B10 programme will be implemented with the following exemptions:

  • petrol stations in highlands including Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands in Pahang, as well as Kundasang in Sabah will be allowed to continue supply of B7
  • petrol stations selling Euro 5 grade diesel will be allowed to retail the B7 blend

This means that for now, diesel car owners will get a choice between B10 biodiesel and the current B7 blend Euro 5 diesel (7% palm oil), which is available at over 100 stations nationwide.

“It’s not that we don’t support B10 biodiesel. But there is the matter of scientific and replicable data. Car makers need to respect their customers in terms of warranties,” an industry player told The Sun last month.

2016 Malaysian Bio-diesel Camerons drive - 2

The MAA claims that the usage of biodiesel in grades higher than B7 may result in fatty-acid methyl ester mixing with motor oil, causing the oil to thin and possibly leading to sludging in the engine. BMW Malaysia, Isuzu, Toyota and Volkswagen are not for B10, but Mercedes-Benz Malaysia says that its diesel-powered vehicles will be fully compatible with the B10 blend.

“It was noted at the meeting that a few days’ test drive of a few diesel cars up and down Cameron Highlands does not constitute a robust trial. It would be ideal if MPOB could do a lab research in cooperation with the relevant automakers. Even JAMA has cautioned its members with operations in Malaysia against the use of the type of B10 biodiesel as proposed by MPOB,” an MAA council member said.

Also, diesel fuel injection equipment manufacturers – among them Robert Bosch, Denso Corporation, Delphi Diesel System and Continental Automotive – have issued a Common Position statement stating all their fuel injection equipment is designed to work with a mixture of B7 biodiesel to EN14214:2009 standard.

The use of B10 is backed by MPOB and the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, and will benefit the palm oil industry. Their ultimate target is B20. More on the argument from both camps here.