FILE PHOTO: A truck carrying oil palm fruits passes through Felda Sahabat plantation in Lahad Datu in Malaysia's state of Sabah on Borneo island, February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/File Photo

Malaysia has made a name for itself by becoming one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil. Being the highest yielding oilseed biofuel crops, it is unsurprising that palm oil also became a logical source of biofuel to replace fossil fuels.

“Palm oil is a viable option to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, as it has tremendous potential as a renewable source of energy. As the largest exporter and second largest producer of the palm oil in the world, we sit in a position to ensure that this commodity evolves into an industry that brings such benefits to the global markets, in particular the energy and transportation ecosystem”, said Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Darell Leiking.

“While there has been opposition against the current practices of planting palm oil recently, it only shows that there is demand and potential for the sector to emerge an important player to meet the needs of the energy and transportation sectors”, he added.

Biofuels have gained much attention recently for being a viable replacement for fossil fuels. Due to being sourced from planted crops, biofuel production can be planned, harvested and renewed sustainably; as opposed to fossil fuels that require millions of years to form under strict circumstances, thus becoming increasingly scarce.

“Malaysia is equipped with the necessary infrastructure and market size to improve the quality and production of palm based energy products. Apart from strong industry support for biodiesel, agencies such as the Malaysia Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and SIRIM Berhad have the technological capabilities in elevating palm oil to become a leading contender for renewable energy in the world”, said Datuk Darell.

In late 2018, Malaysia introduced the B10 biodiesel to its domestic transportation market, increasing its blend from its 7 per cent (B7 Biodiesel) to 10 per cent.

The National Automotive Policy, which is currently undergoing review, is expected to continue its inclusion of biodiesel development as an important agenda to the nation’s transportation energy efficiency plan, to allow for higher percentage of biodiesel blends over the next few decades.

The government, through MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) and MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries), is aiming to introduce B20 biodiesel by the year 2020. At the same time, MPI is also collaborating with MITI to include a “B20/B30-ready” specification for vehicles in the review of the National Automotive Policy.