Following Carlist.my’s earlier report in April regarding the compatibility of standard diesel engines with the government’s proposed B10 biodiesel mandate, Mitsubishi Motors is the latest company to confirm that the B7 blend (7 percent palm oil derived methyl esther) is the maximum biodiesel blend that its diesel engines can accept.
Currently, all diesel fuels sold in Peninsular Malaysia are B7 biodiesels.
Earlier in March, it was reported in The Star that Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah has confirmed that the government is considering to mandate B10 biodiesels nationwide within this year.
The response after repeated calls by the palm oil industry to mandate B10 biodiesel to increase the consumption of palm oil, following a 15 percent slump in crude palm oil prices last year.
Malaysian Biodiesel Association’s deputy chairman U.R. Unnithan told The Star that as a result of the slump, the association's 21 members are only utilising around 22 per cent of their capacity. He also added that mandating B10 and B20 biodiesel will raise their utilisation to 37 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.
“Every RM100 increase per tonne in CPO price would contribute RM2bil to our GDP (gross domestic product),” said Unnithan.
Several car manufacturers have raised their concerns over any premature move to introduce B10 biodiesels. Generally speaking, a standard diesel engine, without any modifications can only accept up to B7 biodiesel.
BMW Group Malaysia have warned that using B10 biodiesel on a standard diesel engine will cause severe damage to the engine, causing the thinning of motor oil, resulting in oil sludge, and corrosion of fuel system components.
Isuzu Malaysia too, has confirmed similar findings.
"One of the primary concerns about biodiesels of grades B7 and above has been, among others, the high presence of water in the blends of Palm Methyl Ester. Biodiesel is hydroscopic in nature and tends to absorb water from the atmosphere. This can cause deposit formation, microbial growth and degradation of fuel quality. These phenomena can affect the vehicle's engine operation and durability.
"In view of this, Isuzu, as one of the world's largest producer of diesel engines, collaborates with the Japan Automobile Manufacturer's Association (JAMA) that based on test findings, the current acceptable limits of water content in biodiesel is only acceptable to grade B7 only.”
Since then, we have checked with several more diesel vehicle manufacturers on regarding their engine’s compatibility with B10 biodiesel.
Now, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has also confirmed the same with regards to using B10 biodiesel.
In a written reply to Carlist.my, Mitsubishi Motor’s Corporate General Manager for the Global Pick-up Project Promotion Office Mr. Koichi Namiki confirms that the all-new Mitsubishi Triton can safely run with B7 biodiesel, but not anything higher than that.
Namiki also added that depending on market requirements, it is able to do the necessary development to develop diesel engines that can run on biodiesel blends above B7.
When asked what modifications would be necessary to make a diesel engine compatible with B10 biodiesel, the Namiki said: “Fuel system components, mainly the injectors, fuel tank, fuel lines and hoses, will need to be investigated carefully.”