The government is set to announce the introduction of B20 biodiesel today, and the fuel – which replaces B10 – will make its way in stages to over 3,400 petrol stations nationwide. The adoption of the blend, which consists of 20% palm methyl ester and 80% regular diesel fuel, could improve air quality especially in places with congested traffic like the Klang Valley, said primary industries minister Teresa Kok.

UPDATE: The government has officially launched the B20 biodiesel programme for the transportation sector. The blend was introduced in Langkawi and Labuan last month, and its availability will be expanded in stages starting in Sarawak in April and Sabah in August before eventually being rolled out across Peninsular Malaysia by June 2021.

She said that the use of B20 – and B7 for the industrial sector – will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3.8 tonnes a year. “Scientific studies have proved that use of biodiesel can reduce GHG emissions. Biodiesel also has a higher cetane number. This can improve the engine’s performance and result in cleaner exhaust gas emissions,” she told Bernama.

She added that biodiesel – with its almost zero sulphur content – will also lower sulphur dioxide emissions to the atmosphere and thus the incidence of acid rain.

Field tests by the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and comprehensive studies by Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) have shown that B20 is suitable for use in diesel engines. Kok said that the response to the move had been positive. “I do not see much problem with this B20 programme as the acceptance level is very high. Let us all help to reduce carbon in the atmosphere,” she stressed.

Malaysia began utilising biodiesel via a B5 programme for the transport sector in June 2011, and the fuel was then sold nationwide in July 2014. The B7 programme began in December 2014, while the switch to B10 was announced in June 2016. The use of B10 for the transport sector became mandatory in February 2019, while B7 use for industrial applications was made mandatory on July 1, 2019.

Kok added that oil companies are actively upgrading their depots to enable them to accommodate up to B30 biodiesel. “Who knows maybe one day we might upgrade to B30, so we should do it now. But because we are doing things in phases, we start with the states that do not require many changes such as Langkawi, followed by Labuan, Sarawak, Sabah and subsequently in Peninsular Malaysia,” she said.