B20 biodiesel use to start in Langkawi next year

Implementation of the B20 biodiesel could help mop the country’s rising palm oil stocks

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA will introduce the B20 biodiesel programme in Langkawi, Kedah, early next year before expanding to other parts of the country as the government pushes for the higher composition of green fuel.

Implementation of the B20 biodiesel, which had been dogged by delays and objections from certain sectors, could help mop the country’s rising palm oil stocks.

Stocks of the country’s second-largest export commodity increased 9.27% to 2.448 million tonnes (MT) in September 2019 from 2.241 MT recorded a month earlier, authorities announced yesterday.

Crude palm oil prices had also been dragged by declining demands and rising production.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the higher blending percentage of palm biodiesel will be rolled out in stages nationwide according to the availability of the mixing facilities.

“It has to be rolled out in stages because we have to upgrade the blending depots throughout the country as they do not have the capacity to support the mixing of a higher blend of biodiesel. It will take time.

“The first phase is expected to be launched at the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s constituency, Langkawi,” she said at the signing ceremony between Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and local universities for B30 biodiesel study in Kajang, Selangor, yesterday.

Kok said the ministry is also upgrading 18 out of 34 mixing facilities throughout the country to allow for the higher blend of palm biodiesel mixing.

“Within the last six months, we have been detailing out on how much to upgrade all of these depots to accommodate up to B30 biodiesel, so that we will be ready when the time comes,” she said.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has notified vehicle importers that foreign vehicles, which will be brought into Malaysia, must be equipped with parts that can accommodate B30 biodiesel.

“We have been issuing out notices to car importers to put up the requirement for biodiesel up to B30 as we will begin the B20 programme next year.

“I hope when we want to introduce the B20 and B30 programmes, the people are ready,” she said.

On the resistance by hauliers and car manufacturers to use the higher combination of biofuel, MPOB DG Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said: “Although the hauliers have to allocate some money at the beginning to accommodate B20 and B30, they are some advancement in the support sector. For example, the oil filter manufacturers are doing their own study on biodiesel”.

Ahmad Parveez said there should be no issue to implement the biodiesel programmes as Malaysia has been working on the blended fuel for more than 30 years.

“We tested vehicles with biodiesel up to B100, a pure palm-oil based fuel. The vehicles were in good condition at the end of the trial run.

“It was a successful pilot project, but we didn’t commercialise it due to financial constraint. Now, if we want to, we can go up to B100,” he said.

MPOB is partnering six local universities to undertake a 30-month study on B30 biodiesel implementation.

The RM2.5 million study involves Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknikal Melaka, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and University of Nottingham Malaysia.

MPOB has also commenced the road test for the Euro5 B20 biodiesel, a project in collaboration with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).