Background
Environmental protection is an issue that concerns the entire world community. It must therefore be addressed by all its members. In response to global warming, JAMA advocates the adoption of an integrated approach, requiring that initiatives be taken in four areas: increased vehicle fuel efficiency, diversified automotive fuel supply, improved traffic flow, and more efficient vehicle use. These initiatives involve cooperative efforts on the part of stakeholders throughout every sector, including vehicle manufacturers, fuel/energy providers, governments and vehicle users.
 
 
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Article 2
JAMA’s take on biodiesel
beyond B5

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On diversified fuel supply, the widespread use of carbon-neutral or low-carbon fuels, including biofuels, should be promoted in line with national requirements. The use of cellulosic ethanol and BTL (biomass-to-liquid) fuels is the key to expanding biofuel supply. Coordinated efforts involving the industrial, public and academic sectors are required to advance technological development. Japanese automakers endorse the greater use of biofuels as well. However, high-blended biofuels are known to have an adverse impact on vehicle materials, corroding the aluminum materials in some cases. Assuming that corrosion and other use-related issues are addressed, the more widespread market availability of biofuels in gasoline blends should be promoted because they help reduce vehicle emissions overall, especially tailpipe CO2 emissions. Also, the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol and BTL fuels is the key to expanding supply for the medium and long term.
Meanwhile, for some years, policy makers in Southeast Asia have also been connecting the reduction of diesel consumption with the use of biodiesel in tackling global warming and energy shortages. Malaysia and Indonesia, being the top producers and exporters of crude palm oil (CPO) in the world, are eager to tap into this abundance to produce palm methyl ester (PME) biodiesel. However, due to the rise of palm oil prices between 2006 and 2011, the movement in mandating beyond B5 has been slow. Recent opportunities appeared in the later part of 2012, when palm oil prices dropped while the price of diesel escalated. Under this backdrop, it is no surprise that Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are re-looking into mandating beyond B5 (the blending 95% of diesel with 5% FAME). Indonesia has moved into a mandatory B10 program (the blending 90% of diesel with 10% FAME), and Malaysia and Thailand are looking at implementing B7 in 2014. The following article shares some insights from our fuel experts on these movements.
Insights of JAMA fuel experts revisited
JAMA has been consistently in support of the use of bio-fuels that comply with appropriate sustainability criteria, as part of an integrated approach to the reduction of CO2 emissions. FAME (fatty acid methyl ester), a biofuel, is renewable energy, and accordingly, JAMA endorses the automotive use of FAME-blended diesel from fossil fuel conservation and energy security points of view. On the other hand, JAMA believes it is imperative that FAME-blended diesel has the equivalent quality when compared to conventional diesel fuels, so vehicles can achieve satisfactory safety and emissions performance.
 
Other than “fit-for-purpose” specifications for FAME and FAME-blended diesel fuel, diesel engine vehicles for the past century have been designed and developed to be used with conventional diesel fuel. In most countries, the safety, performance and emissions of such vehicles have also been tested for road-worthiness or type-approval with conventional diesel. Therefore, appropriate blending of biodiesel for general diesel engine vehicles is defined, in essence, as one that has proven its equivalence to conventional diesels in terms of producing same standards of emissions, safety and performance, as per a diesel vehicle running on conventional diesel. In other words, the key for automakers to accept biodiesel as conventional diesel, lies in closing the quality gap between biodiesel and conventional diesel fuels.
According to a study from the Japan Auto-Oil Program [(JATOP), a joint-industry research program to study the impact on vehicles using biodiesel blends above B5 between the automobile and oil industry, subsidized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)], the double bonds chemical compound found in unsaturated fats of all FAME feedstocks, which leads to poor oxidation stability and easier low temperature solidification, is the key that contributes to differences in quality between FAME and conventional diesel.
It is well known that poor oxidative stability leads to a variety of problematic degradation by products, including corrosive, low molecular weight acids and biopolymers, which are the principal cause of sludge and lacquer in diesel fuel injection systems, the JATOP study also found diesel vehicles using above B5 encountered issues of fuel filter plugging, engine oil dilution and degradation. Foreign matter was found to adhere on the suction control valve after long parking periods, which in-turn led to idling trouble after a cold engine start up.
To close the quality gap between biodiesel and conventional diesel fuels, for the assurance of safe performance in all diesel vehicles, JAMA has recommended the blending of no more than B5, regardless of feedstock, and the application of oxidation stability enhancing additives to secure its quality. Meanwhile, HVO(Hydro-treated vegetable oil) or BTL (biomass to liquid) that have no inherent double bonds or oxidative stability issues, are strongly recommended as blend stock for the production of FAME-blended diesel with more than a 5% FAME content equivalent.
Although arguably, the PME that has been adopted in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand has the lowest unsaturated fat content among all the other FAME feedstocks ─ implying better oxidation stability ─ it is not totally free from this component. Moreover, the majority of PME saturated components may lead to precipitate formation. In the same study by JATOP, a large amount of precipitates were observed in storage of B20 PME at temperatures above Cloud Point (CP), and a majority of the precipitates were Saturated Fatty Acid Monoglycerides(SMG). Furthermore, the formulation of precipitates was also observed in the fuel filter of vehicles that have performed running tests at five degrees Celsius with B20 PME. Even though there were samples with less precipitates being observed, one bad sample alone warrants automakers’ attention as precipitates in the fuel filter pose drivability issues (i.e. engine stalls), and in-turn, the possible occurrence of traffic accidents and the threat of death for motorists. This is why, even though Europe has increased its mandatory blending of biodiesel to B7 with strengthened oxidation stability requirements in 2009, JAMA remains in its stance on B5 until further findings and market observations on B7 are reported.
Conclusion
The proper functioning of vehicles is essential to the safety of their users. JAMA’s position is that biodiesel quality must be confirmed safe to use, prior to market introduction. At the same time, JAMA strongly supports the use of appropriate biofuels to contribute to CO2 emissions reduction in road transport.
 

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