PUTRAJAYA (Dec 11): Malaysia is going for a greener diesel in February next year.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today launched the B10 Biodiesel Programme that will see the fuel – comprising 10% palm oil biodiesel and 90% fossil diesel – used by all types of diesel vehicles in the transportation sector beginning Feb 1, 2019.
The use of 10% palm oil biodiesel in Malaysia for vehicles such as four-wheel-drive vehicles, lorries and buses will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, he said.
The B10 programme will contribute to reducing the emission of carbon dioxide by 10% per year from the total number of diesel vehicles in the country, he said when launching the B10 Biodiesel Programme for the Transportation Sector at Dataran Putra here.
“The air quality, especially in the urban areas, will also increase through the use of biodiesel with the reduced emission of dust and black smoke into the air. The implementation of the B10 Programme is apt at this time in view of the lower price of palm oil biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel,” he said.
“I believe the B10 Programme for the transportation sector will run smoothly and will increase palm oil demand in the country from December 2018,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also urged vehicle manufacturers as well as original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to cooperate with the government in ensuring smooth implementation of the B10 Programme as well as any biodiesel programmes in the future.
“Malaysia needs to increase the fuel mixture in the future to strengthen domestic demand for palm oil,” he said.
Citing Indonesia’s B20 programme of 20% of palm oil biodiesel and 80% fossil diesel in the transportation sector which had no problems since 2016, Dr Mahathir said he hoped that all parties would be ready to increase the mixing rate to B20 by 2020.
“The use of palm oil biodiesel will have a positive impact on the palm oil industry by reducing palm oil stocks and stabilising palm oil prices. Through this effort, 650,000 palm oil smallholders will continue to enjoy more stable palm oil prices with increased revenue,” he said.
The country’s biodiesel programme would also help the country to achieve its low-carbon mobility objective as outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan, he said.
Dr Mahathir said he also wanted the biodiesel programme to be given serious thought in the National Automotive Policy (NAP) currently being drafted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
“We, by right, should ensure that in the future, only vehicles that can use more than 10% of biodiesel are sold in Malaysia,” he said.
He said the Malaysian oil palm industry should also be bold enough to explore new markets and to prove that the quality of the country’s palm oil is among the best in the world.
Dr Mahathir also said that the government would continue to fend off, through whatever means within its capability, all the accusations hurled at palm oil which cite it as the leading cause of deforestation and destruction of the biodiversity.
To counter the allegations, the prime minister said, the government had taken the initiative to create certification schemes such as the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) but the importing countries had stubbornly imposed various sanctions against palm oil.
“I would like to emphasise that the government will continue to preserve the environment. At present, the forest cover in Malaysia is about 55.3% of the country’s total land area.
“This exceeds the government’s commitment made during the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 to ensure that at least 50% of Malaysia’s land area is covered by forests,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir drove a Peugeot 508 car, powered by the B10 biodiesel, from his office at Perdana Putra to the launch site.
At the same event, the Prime Minister also officially launched the nationwide biodiesel distribution by flagging off five oil tankers, from Petronas, Shell, Petron, BH Petrol and Caltex.
Meanwhile, the Primary Industries Ministry, in a statement issued today, said the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has been carrying out field tests on vehicles, including the car driven by the prime minister, since August without encountering any problem, involving a total of 150,000 litres of B10 biodiesel.
The ministry also said that the sale of the B10 biodiesel started today with Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd offering the product at its Jet Melati fuel station in Gombak, Selangor.
The palm oil-based biodiesel is a renewable energy produced by sustainable palm cultivation, and the use of one tonne of palm oil-based biodiesel is equivalent to a reduction of emission of three tonnes of carbon dioxide in the air, it said.
The mandatory use of palm oil biodiesel in Malaysia was initiated in 2011 with the B5 Programme (5% blending of palm oil biodiesel with 95% fossil diesel) for the transportation sector, the ministry said.
The palm oil biodiesel content has been increased to 7% from Nov 2014 in stages, and the implementation of the B10 programme for the transportation sector began on Dec 1.
The mandatory use of B10 will commence on Feb 1 next year.