Indonesia begins on-road evaluation of B40 biodiesel – tests using 12 vehicles to be conducted until end-2022

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The Indonesian government has begun road testing diesel engine vehicles operating on 40% palm-based biodiesel (B40). The country’s energy and mineral resources ministry (ESDM) is targeting to complete the road trials by the end of 2022 and provide technical recommendations for B40 implementation policies, the country’s national news agency Antara reports.

“The road test is the last series of a number of trials conducted to assess the utilisation of B40 and ensure that it will be able to perform well,” ESDM minister Arifin Tasrif said during the launch of the road test.

Dadan Kusdiana, the ministry’s director-general of renewable energy, said that 12 vehicles will be used for the on-road trials. These consist of six vehicles weighing under 3.5 tonnes each, which will undergo a daily trip distance of 560 km and clock a total trip distance of 50,000 km, and six other vehicles weighing above 3.5 tons each, which will have a daily trip distance target of 400 km and an overall trip distance of 40,000 km.

Kusdiana added that the B40 road test will include the handling aspects and analysis of fuel consumption, a quality test of fuel and lubricants as well as other performance and merit rating tests.

According to previous reports, two types of B40 blends will be evaluated. One will use a 30% fatty acid methyl ether (FAME) and 10% distilled palm methyl ester (DPME) composition, while the other will consist of a 30% FAME and 10% palm-based diesel (or green diesel) blend.

The decision on mandatory B40 implementation would be made once the tests have been completed. The Indonesian government had initially planned to launch the B40 programme sometime in 2021 or 2022, but the programme was delayed due to the increase in vegetable oil prices, which had made the fuel too costly.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is presently running Euro 5 B10 (10% palm methyl ester and 90% regular diesel) biodiesel, which replaced Euro 2M diesel across the country last April. There is also B7 (7% palm methyl ester and 93% regular diesel), which costs 10 sen more than the B10 blend.

As stated in the 12th Malaysia Plan, the government has said it will move towards scaling up palm oil-based biodiesel to B15 and B20 levels, and introduce B30 biodiesel (30% palm methyl ester and 70% regular diesel) by the end of the plan, which is 2025.

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