2016 Malaysian Bio-diesel Camerons drive - 1

The Malaysian Biodiesel association (MBA) is pushing – with the collaboration of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, and the Malaysian Palm Oil board (MPOB) – for the implementation of B10 in 2016, with a move towards B20 within the next two years. In support of government efforts to roll-out the implementation of the B10 biodiesel blend in fuel stations nationwide, MBA held a expedition drive to Cameron Highlands using a fleet of 13 vehicles over the course of two days.

The vehicles – comprising of seven different brands; BMW, Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan – utilised various blends of biodiesel, ranging from B10, B20, B50 and one vehicle run exclusively on biodiesel B100. The numbers in the blend indicate the percentage of biofuel used – in this case, palm biodiesel. The purpose of the drive was to show that vehicles run on palm biodiesel were as reliable as any other diesel-powered vehicle, and to dispel concerns regarding precipitation and coagulation of palm biodiesel at low temperature.

2016 Malaysian Bio-diesel Camerons drive - 2

The expedition covered over 600 km of highway and country road driving, along with the ascent to Cameron Highlands, with no issues. Biodiesel is a mix of petroleum diesel blended with vegetable oils. In the case of the MBA expedition, palm biodiesel was used.

Malaysia currently uses a blend of B7, which is diesel with a 7% biodiesel component, that entered the market in January 2015 in East Malaysia, while B5 has been available in all Peninsular Malaysia stations since 2014. The MPOB has spent RM340 million to build 35 petroleum depots nationwide to blend biodiesel – five in Sarawak (owned by Petronas, Shell and Synergy), eight in Sabah (owned by Petronas, Shell and Petron) and two in Labuan (Petronas and Shell).

2016 Malaysian Bio-diesel Camerons drive - 3

Benefits of using biodiesel include a lower noxious greenhouse gas emission levels, including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. In the case of B100 biodiesel, 50% less soot and 40% less particulate is emitted, the visible indication of the pollution from diesel engines that drivers are familiar with. The MPOB has done testing with various diesel vehicles, notably in the heavy transport sector, and not recorded any issues with the usage of B10, although the specific testing method and duration was not detailed.

Various carmakers have previously raised concerns about the use of biodiesel in higher blend concentrations above B7 in their vehicles, with some saying that higher biodiesel numbers may cause clogging of engine components due to sludging. Others, however, have said that higher concentrations of biodiesel do not cause any issues.