Malaysia Delays B10 Implementation

Amid concerns about biodiesel compatibility with motor vehicle engines in Malaysia, the countrysMinistry of Plantation Industries and Commodities agreed to phase in implementation of its B10 biodiesel program and to consult further with automakers, the ministry said in a June 20 statement.

At the end of May, the ministry announced that implementation of B10 for the transportation sector would start this month. However, the June 20 press release said, MPIC wishes to reiterate that it is in consultation with the automotive companies on the phased implementation of the B10 program … beginning July 2016.

The B10 standard, which has been in development in stages since 2013, has been given the provisional standard under MS 2535:2013(P), the statement read. In this context, the government will ensure that all B10 sold in the country complies with this standard. The Malaysian standard for diesel fuel is based on the Euro 2M specification, which calls for a blend comprised of at least 10 percent of palm methyl ester.

According to the ministry, automakers like Mercedes Benz, Scania, Peugeot, UD Truck and Volvo Truck have indicated acceptance of B10.

The countrys biodiesel supplier, the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, organized an expedition in Pahang states Cameron Highlands in March to demonstrate the use of B10, B20, B50 and B100 blends (with the number indicating the percentage of bio components in the blend). According to a June 15 statement, MBA found no engine issues during a trial that had vehicles cumulatively travel over 600 kilometers.

MBA noted that palm methyl esters tend to cause more problems in lower, temperate climates than in tropical climates such as Malaysias. Yet even at the lowest temperature recorded during the trial, 12 degrees Celsius, the fuel had yet to begin clogging the engines filtration systems, representing a low cold filter plugging point, according to MBA.

The cost effectiveness of biodiesel would be even better as palm biodiesel will further improve the lubricity of Euro 5 diesel with lower sulfur levels, it added.

However, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association expressed concern about the effects of biodiesel on engines in a March newsletter. Biofuel tends to deteriorate more easily than diesel fuel, which in turn increases the possibility of forming solid material that cause problems similar to clogging of the fuel filter.

The association warned that appropriate adjustments will be needed to stabilize oxidization and the concentration of biodiesel mixture, even in areas that experience low temperatures, to prevent precipitation of some components in the fuel.

Automakers have also raised concerns about biodiesel requirements in other parts of the world due to findings that plant-based methyl ester migrates to and accumulates in engine oil sumps, diluting the lubricant and hindering its performance.

Malaysia Automotive Institute CEO Datuk Mohamad Madani Sahari sees aneed for a common testing platform to determine the compatibility of B10 biodiesel with the Malaysian market.

We are currently in the process of adding participation from the European [original equipment manufacturers] in the testing activity, he said. As homologation requirements differ across the globe, we are working towards a testing method that is compatible with as many models as possible. MAI is a government agency established to assist in formulation of policies affecting the auto industry.

In the meantime, the MPIC said it will provide exemptions to certain petrol stations to address concerns. Petrol stations located in highlands such as Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands in Pahang, as well as Kundasang in Sabah, will be allowed to continue supplying B7. Stations selling Euro 5 grade diesel will also be allowed to retail the B7 blend. Euro 5 diesel is currently available at more than 100 petrol stations.

Malaysias biodiesel program was first introduced through a B5 program in June 2011. In December 2014 the government began requiring B7 throughout the country. For the industrial sector, which includes the commercial and power generation users, B7 was required beginning this month.

The B10 program for the transport sector and the B7 program for the industrial sector are expected to consume 709,000 metric tons of crude palm oil per year and save 820 million liters per year of diesel, resulting in a reduction of 2.2 million t/y of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Malaysian government has conducted a series of stakeholders consultations with various automotive associations such as JAMA, the Malaysian Automotive Association and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, along with petroleum companies and biodiesel producers.The biodiesel used in both programs will be supplied by MBA, which consists of 22 members.