Following an appeal from the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), the government and private sectors have postponed indefinitely the implementation of B10 biodiesel (a blend of 10 per cent palm methyl and 90 per cent petroleum diesel) in respect to the initial deadline of July 2016.
The decision was reached as a result of a meeting between the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) that was represented by its secretary-general; Datuk M. Nagaraja, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA), Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAA) and the MAI which concurred that the data regarding B10’s compliance with current engine specifications in vehicles sold here was insufficient.
An increase in palm oil percentage over the current B7 grade (seven per cent) may result in fatty-acid methyl ester mixing with the motor oil and thinning it out that may lead to a significant increase in sludge within the engine claimed the MAA.
As a result, carmakers with diesel-powered models sold here raised the issue of customers voiding their warranties with the B10 grade of diesel.
A number of manufacturers here have indeed voiced their concerns about the usage of B10. Among them are Isuzu, BMW, Toyota and Volkswagen. However, Mercedes-Benz has gone against the crowd by announcing that its diesel models sold here, notably the popular E300 BlueTEC Hybrid, will be completely compatible with the B10 mix.
A primary concern raised at the meeting implicated the rather incomprehensive and restricted testing method utilised by the MPOB that ran a few vehicles powered by the B10 mix on a few round trips up and down Cameron Highlands.
“It was noted at the meeting that a few days’ tests of a few diesel cars up and down Cameron Highlands does not constitute a robust trial. It would be ideal if MPOB could do a lab research in cooperation with the relevant automakers,” said a source who attended the meeting.
Additionally, the Japanese Automotive Manufacturers Association (JAMA) has also cautioned its members with interests in Malaysia against the use of B10.
Nonetheless, one of the exemptions granted under the B10 programme would see Euro 5 diesel sold in the country allowed to maintain the current B7 blend; giving consumers a choice although the this cleaner grade of diesel does retail for a higher price. Dinesh Appavu