B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

Ever since the nationwide introduction of B10 biodiesel was first mooted back in 2015, there’s been a lot of conjecture regarding the fuel’s suitability for Malaysia’s diesel-powered vehicles.

So far, a number of companies including BMW Group Malaysia, UMW Toyota Motor, Volkswagen Group Malaysia and Isuzu Malaysia have stated that their cars will not be able to use the fuel, with BMW in particular citing international studies on the potential engine damage biofuels can cause. As such, the wider perception is that the higher biodiesel blend is harmful to engines.

Not helping matters is the fact that the B10 rollout has been delayed several times – originally slated to come into force in October 2015, it was pushed back to June last year, then to December. Last we heard, the implementation has been deferred indefinitely, although that is said to have been due to the unfavourable price of crude palm oil versus that of regular diesel.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has sought to clear any misconceptions and address public concerns regarding B10 biodiesel, and as such it has shared its research and findings with paultan.org in order to present a clearer picture on just what kind of effect the fuel will have on diesel engines.

B10 biodiesel – a background

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

The B10 blend that was slated to be introduced at petrol stations nationwide consists of 10% palm methyl ester and 90% regular diesel fuel. Cleaner Euro 5 diesel will remain on a B7 blend, as will all diesel fuels sold in the highlands such as Cameron and Genting Highlands.

There are a number of reasons why Malaysia is pushing for higher biodiesel blends. The first is the potential of reduced air pollution – it is claimed that the switch to B10 biodiesel could cut emissions by an amount equivalent to 100,000 diesel vehicles on the road.

Increasing the blend would also reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, which would better safeguard the country against foreign exchange volatility. But of course, one very big reason is that Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil, and the use of local resources as renewable fuel would indirectly support oil palm smallholders and related industries.

Biodiesel blends aren’t new here, of course. The country introduced B5 biodiesel in June 2011, followed by B7 in December 2014. But Malaysia has lagged behind certain countries, particularly Indonesia – the latter has been using B10 since 2013, then moved to B15 in 2015 and B20 last year. In fact, MPOB claims the usage of B20 there is at 90% versus regular diesel (B0).

Engine damage concerns regarding B10 biodiesel

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

Car manufacturers have raised issues with the use of B10 biodiesel, specifically the damage the fuel could cause to diesel engines. The list of potential problems is fairly long and includes fuel filter plugging, deposits on fuel injectors, material deterioration, engine oil dilution and degradation as well as component damage.

BMW Malaysia went one step further, highlighting a 2012 joint statement by five diesel injector manufacturers, Delphi, Denso, Bosch, Continental and Stanadyne, detailing the possible effects of fatty-acid methyl ester (FAME) biofuels – which includes palm methyl esters – on diesel engines.

While the companies did not specifically single out any ‘bad’ blends, and understood the need for continually revising standards, they raised issues regarding reduced fuel stability (leading to “plugged filters, sediments and sticking moving parts”), impurities in the fuel and compatibility issues with older vehicles (most likely affecting filters, hoses and seals) with the use of FAME in fuels.

However, MPOB pointed out that the statement itself stated that the European FAME standard EN 14214:2009 is being revised extensively to facilitate blending of up to B10, which the manufacturers support.

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

The board also drew our attention to fuel trials that it has conducted. The first phase, involving 31 vehicles running on regular diesel and B100 palm methyl ester, took place from 1986 to 1989, while the second phase with 36 buses running B0, B50 and B100 blends was conducted between 1990 and 1994. The ongoing third phase, involving 25 vehicles running on B10 and B20, has been going on since 2013.

Other bodies have also conducted tests, including DBKL and the Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA); Colombia also held trials on B5, B10, B20, B30 and B50 palm methyl ester blends from 2009 to 2010. But by far the most thorough test was conducted by the Japan Auto-Oil Programme (JATOP) and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) from 2007 to 2011, which tested six different methyl esters.

All tests observed little to no fuel filter plugging or injector deposits. There was some degradation of engine oil using palm methyl esters, but they were within the acceptable limit of the used oil performance test. The tests also showed regular component wear and tear, as well as no significant impact on engine performance.

However, MPOB found issues with material deterioration, such as the peeling of fuel tank coatings and paintwork, hardened fuel hoses, erosion on copper and lead and the dissolving of chloroprene materials – the board suggested switching to Teflon coatings and stainless steel braided hoses.

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

Meanwhile, JATOP and JAMA’s testing of different methyl esters showed that palm methyl ester performed better than soy, walnut oil, coconut, rapeseed and jatropha methyl esters. In fact, in a B10 blend palm methyl ester was deemed to be slightly better than regular diesel in certain aspects, including fuel flow and engine torque, and was shown to have cleaned fuel injectors, whereas regular diesel did not.

Another test was conducted with B20 biodiesel on Denso fuel injectors in Japan, witnessed by an Indonesian government delegation in 2014. While the fuel was found to have deteriorated more quickly under high temperatures and affected the diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating of one injector, there was no change in fuel flow, nor any biopolymer deposits, after the test. Oxidation stability was quoted at 79 hours, lower than regular diesel at 113 hours, but way higher than B100’s eight hour figure.

JAMA’s feedback and conditions

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

For what it’s worth, JAMA has stated that it does not oppose Malaysia’s implementation of B10 biodiesel, so long as its conditions were met. These include a water content of less than 200 parts per million (ppm) and an oxidation stability of more than 35 hours, both of which MPOB has managed to accommodate.

The association also wanted the B10 blend to be limited to grades Euro 4 and below, so the Euro 5 diesel fuel currently sold in selected stations nationwide will remain on a B7 formulation. Diesel fuels sold in the highlands, such as Cameron and Genting Highlands, will also stick to a B7 blend, due to concerns over the gelling of biodiesel at lower temperatures.

However, JAMA has also stated that warranty coverage would be provided at the discretion of vehicle manufacturers, and is not guaranteed by the association.

So, is it safe?

B10 biodiesel in Malaysia – separating fact from fiction

As far as MPOB is concerned, the bevy of laboratory and real-world engine testing conducted both locally and in other countries shows that there will be no problems that will arise from B10 biodiesel. It has also stated that both it and the ministry of plantation industries and commodities (MPIC) will continue to engage relevant stakeholders in order to ensure a smooth implementation of the B10 programme.

During the presentation, it stressed that the B10 blend only represents a 3% increase in biodiesel content, and said that it believes carmakers would provide the same level of warranty after the B10 rollout. Of course, we would recommend that users clarify with the respective companies before using B10 biodiesel.

So far, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has stated that its diesel-powered vehicles, which consist of the CLS 250d and GLE 250d, as well as the discontinued E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, would be compatible with B10 biodiesel – rescinding an earlier, contradictory statement. Nasim has given the same reassurance for the Peugeot 508 GT HDi.

Manufacturers providing conditional coverage for vehicles powered by B10 biodiesel include Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Scania and Volvo Trucks, while BMW, CAMC, Ford, Grand Tiger, Hyundai, Isuzu, JLR, Mazda, Mitsubishi Fuso, Kia, Porsche and Chevrolet have said that their cars cannot be powered by the fuel. However, Isuzu has stated that its light- and medium-duty lorries (not pick-ups or older models, which cannot use B10) will be compatible with B10 biodiesel after a change of hoses.

Overall, while consumers should still be cautious about using B10 biodiesel and make sure that their vehicles are compatible with the fuel before using it, it does appear that the issue has been made more serious than it actually is. For those of you who are wary, or own a car that cannot be run on B10, there’s always B7 Euro 5 diesel as an answer.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • B10 Diesel Hilux on Jan 27, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Do Not Tailgating Me or you get black smoke!.. Oh wai…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2
    • Taknaktoyota on Jan 28, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Bunyi macam ribut, pergi macam siput!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4
      • Kunta Kinte on Jan 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        So malu. Even our Ron 95 also so dirty and full of sulphur. Now want to talk about Bio Diesel.

        10 million cars use dirty ron 95 petrol. Imagine the pollution???

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4
        • Kakaka on Jan 30, 2017 at 6:27 am

          So you use EV kah? Kahkahkah

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
        • RavenAii (Member) on Jan 30, 2017 at 12:46 pm

          Our FuelSave RON95 is already considered as Premium while the V-Power RON97 is a higher Performance fuel. The base ones in some countries like Japan have a Regular RON90 while Australia’s Regular is RON91, although they have a Premium and Shell V-Power R up to RON100 respectively. There is RON100 fuel sold by Petron in Malaysia but most people opt for the cheaper RON95. I guess Malaysian wouldn’t bother about pollution as long as it is cheap to buy.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
      • Proof pudding on Jan 30, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        The writer should try the fuel on his diesel car or pickup first, then can proof it okay or not.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
      • Faiz Roslan on Jan 31, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        Western powers envy our nation. They say palm oil is full of harmful trans fats. They rubbish our biofuel technology. They can say anything they want but we all know we are going to rise as a world super power. May God almighty bless our gov and the country. – Faiz Roslan CEng

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6
      • Abang Alza Pakai Topi on Jan 31, 2017 at 2:40 pm

        FACT: Malaysia’s lust and addiction for fossil fuel is not going away soon. If oil supply is interrupted, KL as a CBD stops functioning immediately as millions of its work force commute more than 50km to their houses in single occupant vehicles.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
    • The Observer on Jan 29, 2017 at 8:36 am

      This what you call a flip flop Government. Basic things like this also cannot implement properly, how you think they want to decide on bigger decisions?

      This is the reason why got so many delays and even their own Government owned Sime Darby BMW also contradicts and says the biodiesel is dangerous for their cars.

      Real flip flop.

      Anyway, you want to look after the environment? It is not through the biodiesel way. Why?

      1) Hundreds of thousands of lorries and busses are still using stinking Euro 2M (This is Euro 1.5) toxic poison diesel. They emit toxic pollutants so dangerous, it is the NO 1 reason why our hospitals are clogged up with respiratory illness problems

      2) How can you promote Bio Diesel when your are against consumer diesel cars in the first place? For 20 years, Gomen as been against consumer diesel cars. Do you now expect the lorries and busses to use Bio Diesel when their engines are so old and buruk?

      3) All the lorries and busses emitting thick black smoke are all owned by big companies and crony connected people. Even polis following a lorry emitting thick black smoke on to the polis car also, the officer is super scared to tahan the lorry and confiscate the lorry for environmental damage.

      4) Enforcement officers are not doing anything for the environment. No point saying Bio Diesel is good when everybody is smoking and vaping open air also. Even outside hospitals and clinics, you can see people smoking. What is the use of Bio Diesel when all these things are happening?

      5) Go to the kampungs and even the city, you see the Pak Cik still doing open burning after he rake his garden grass. Everyday you can see so many int he kampungs and also in the city. Polis and DBKL can pass the house also, they too scared to touch the offender.

      The authorities need to sort all these problems first before they try to say Bio Diesel is good for the environment. It is misleading. Chicken and egg story. You cannot even prevent the source of pollution, you want to implement measures to curb pollution.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5
      • “Do you now expect the lorries and busses to use Bio Diesel when their engines are so old and buruk”

        The problem with B10 is not the old engines, but the NEW ones!

        Example: The military version of the old Mercedes 911 lorry (now out of service, but can be still seen parked at camps) was capable of running on 100% pure palm oil! I’m not talking about B100, but palm oil without any processing.

        The reason for expected problems: The injection pressure of the old Mercedes 911 lorry was around 13 MPa, while the injection pressure of modern diesel engines is around or higher 200 MPa!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
    • Kunta Kinte on Jan 30, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Gomen not focused, hospitals and schools got no money ie budget cut teruk teruk but gomen got time to intro bio diesel

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • tong sampah on Jan 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    why Merc discontinue diesel hybrid then? LOL.buying time for the existing warranty gone and thats it..cap the liability for all sold diesel (4 years)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
    • The Observer on Jan 29, 2017 at 9:02 am

      good question to ask. Why Merc stop the E300 Bluetec Hybrid in Malaysia?

      Furthermore, can sell the car cheaper for Malaysians. Why MBM don’t want Malaysians to have cheaper car? Already Malaysians paying so high car prices. If bring the E300 Bluetec Diesel, at least got lesser tax.

      Anyway, why Merc discountinue the diesel cars here? Even the E220 CDI also tak ada. Why?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  • Apa lagi mau minyak sudah naik, margerine, shortening semua dari sawit. Kalau kereta pakai minyak sawit habish lah minyak masak melambung naik

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2
  • Bullshit man. We produce crude oil and we have our own refinery to produce diesel all by ourselves. Why affected by foreign exchange volatility ?? Yes, we are 2nd largest palm oil producer in the world but we are crude oil exporter too. Foreign exchange volatility also affect the palm oil industry. You think you don’t have to pay the foreign worker salary to pluck the oil palm fruit from the plantation ? If our currency drop, means their salary also reduce. The amount of money they can send home will be lesser. In the end, they will ask their boss to top up their salary or they go other country and work.

    1 more thing, the MPOB refuse to tell us which is fuel consumption difference between regular diesel and biodiesel. Obviously fossil fuel has higher energy content than biodiesel, which means better gas mileage for us consumers . That is 1 of the main reason why people get diesel variant of SUV or MPV in the first place compare to petrol powered variant. In the end, the consumers will need to pay more for their biodiesel . Only the rich plantation tauke benefit from biodiesel. Definitely nothing good for us typical consumers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 10
  • It is stated there. Change all hose and the coating of engine and the fuel tank. So can this be done and cost borne by the MPOB and the Association on all vehicles before implementing the B10? I mean it is short changing the existing owners. Just make it available as an alternative at a discount.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  • Head Hunter on Jan 28, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Honestly all this biodiesel talk makes me wonder we have an issue with agflation, do we have enough for human consumption instead of for fuel? We are already hard hit by the removal of subsidies yet the gomen still wants to shortchange us by increasing demand of palm oil by introducing biodiesel. There are other alternatives, such as electric power which should be better in terms of carbon footprint. To introduce biodiesel to me only seem to fit one’s agenda of increasing dependency towards palm oil and we the rakyat take the full brunt of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
  • transformer on Jan 28, 2017 at 10:35 am

    EU banned Palm Oil, M’sian has stock pile of palm. Its great to blend in more into auto’s diesel to clear some stocks. MPOB try hard to sell this…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3
    • Andrew on Jan 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      And that, my friend, is the real reason for Msia pushing for B10. Europe is turning away our palm oil. It’s because of the deforestation of Borneo and its environmental consequences.
      And we all know why that’s happening. So, we end up with a surplus of palm oil. Solution? Put it in our fuel and claim it’s good.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5
      • Ceh… deforestation my a**. Where do the eu soy n corn come from. Plant it on the moon me guest.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
      • It has been proven that palm oil creates least environmental impact per volume of oil produced compared to others.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
      • Firstly, China is buying crude palm oil from Indonesia instead of Malaysia because of Robert Kuok’s influence.

        Secondly, palm oil has the highest carcinogenic compounds among all vegetable oils, leading to EU and US shunning our products. Removing GE and MCPDs require extensive upgrades on our local refineries, which ultimately eats into their profit.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Gaviny on Jan 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Do you really believe the standards and quality of a board formed solely for the reason of making huge huge profits for the Malaysian palm oil to tell car manufacturers that they got it wrong ?

    Car manufacturers that have to deal with warranty , got it wrong ?

    What a load of marketing wank

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2
  • tishaban on Jan 28, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Both MPOB and MPIC have a vested interest in deploying B10 to save government money.

    The car makers have a vested interest in saving their own money from warranty repairs.

    Maybe the optimal option is to enforce the availability of both Euro 5 B7 blend and the Euro 2M B10 blend at all stations nationwide so the consumer has a choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1
  • Go hybrid or full-electric. Put money into electric infrastructure. Accelerate hydrogen-fuel producing and consumption tech also. This is the way to go if we are really concerned for the environment. Palm oil has a myriad other uses. Why is the industry trying to shoehorn it into the motor-fuel role creating the problem of palm-oil based products supply-shortages?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  • If you ask me, if food being used for car fuel it is a waste. Waste is not condoned by God. If you have oversupply, reduce price or donate to countries that needs it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
  • 4G63T DSM on Jan 30, 2017 at 5:55 am

    With all these flip flop, the government should just implement an ultra high blend of bio diesel like B50 and use it exclusively on public transportation busses and industrial/commercial fuel use. Sort out your big consumers first.

    Any GLC or Palm oil producers (KLK, SD, IOI) listening? I would be more than happy to campaign a biodiesel powered car in the sepang 1k if they are willing to sponsor, but of course the S1k entry rules and specifications will need to be revised to allow a a Force fed diesel car.

    Win on sunday, sell on monday?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Dear paultan ” it does appear that the issue has been made more serious than it actually is. For those of you who are wary, or own a car that cannot be run on B10, there’s always B7 Euro 5 diesel as an answer…” I do have to disagree with this statement..on the contrary, it is a serious matter made trivial by authorities and auto associations. Do note that us Malaysian are paying ridiculous money for cars, coupled with lack of strong enforcement of consumer rights, mediocre after sales support by most vehicle brand dealers in Malaysia, It seems like consumers are left to become ‘test mules’, at the expense of possibly jeopardising the reliability of their investment. Firstly, can MPOB verify the testing and development criterion utilised for fuel testing? engaging DBKL vehicle for field trials for a couple of years is not a proper duration. And also, issues such fuel tank internal coating damage, fuel hose hardening etc…these are serious issue that has to be addresses. Just ‘suggesting’ Teflon coating for fuel tank coatings or stainless steel braided hose just would not solve the problem, what coating grade, what SS spec hose are they suggesting. Sorry to say….This initiative is only beneficial for MPOB and its members as a mechanism to stabliise CPO by increasing consumption..Instead of ‘rushing’ to introduce another “product”…possibly they should increase their promotion activities of Palm Oil as a healthy cooking oil in the Middle Kingdom and the UAE, rather sad to in supermarket shelves canola oil, sunflower oil, soy oil etc having prominent shelf space in supermarkets, but no palm oil cooking available, or palm oil cooking oil is blended and sold as ‘vegetable cooking oil’…very sad..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  • chewke on Feb 03, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Will Euro5 Diesel maintain as B7 permanently or “for now, flip flop Malaysian style” like the multiple postponements for the now B10 diesels?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • ASIMOHAMED IBRAHIM GANY on Mar 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    It has been and looks like will be that choosing the diesel option is risky. Imagine buying a few hundred thousand car/suv and suffering from unpredictable rules and regulation. OMG.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • whataloadofbull on May 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

    10% Biodiesel they want to talk about better air pollution.. and clearly higher grade diesel and newer diesel engine is very clean already.

    “During the presentation, it stressed that the B10 blend only represents a 3% increase in biodiesel content, and said that it believes carmakers would provide the same level of warranty after the B10 rollout. Of course, we would recommend that users clarify with the respective companies before using B10 biodiesel.” Clearly they did not care about the Rakyat before they push for it if not why all they big car manufacturer pulling the plug on their vehicles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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