Officials to elevate B10 to primary diesel

Officials to elevate B10 to primary diesel

A Bangchak attendant fills a vehicle with B20. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A Bangchak attendant fills a vehicle with B20. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Energy Ministry plans to announce the availability of biodiesel B10 as the primary diesel from November onward, replacing B7 in order to increase the use of crude palm oil and address Thailand's environmental problems.

B7 will be phased out at petrol stations after the ministry's announcement and nationwide availability will be curtailed by law starting from November 2020, said Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan.

"The ministry is confident that B10 will become the preferred fuel by local motorists because the ministry is providing a grace period of over a year for biodiesel refineries to improve their refining processes and oil formulas; for example a monoglyceride reduction -- a form of fatty acid -- from 0.7% to below 0.4%," Mr Siri said. "Meanwhile, oil traders have to prepare for B10 availability across the country for diesel-powered pickups, buses and trucks."

Thailand has 28 petrol stations with B10 availability. B20 can be accessed at 900 stations.

Mr Siri said the ministry forecasts B20 consumption to increase to 110 million litres in June from 70 million litres on average per month.

"Because the government has been subsidising the B20 retail price, making it five baht cheaper than B7, the subsidy programme will expire on July 31 and the B20 price will be back to less than B7 by three baht per litre," he said.

Biodiesel is refined from crude palm oil into methyl ester, also known as B100. B10 contains 10% methyl ester, while B20 has 20% content.

Mr Siri said B10 availability will raise the consumption of crude palm oil to 2 million tonnes annually from 1.5 million tonnes for B7.

Local petrol stations have three types of biodiesel: B7, B10 and B20.

Chaiwat Kovavisarach, president and chief executive of Bangchak Corporation, said B10 is available at three stations and B20 is sold at 350 petrol stations out of 1,185 total stations nationwide.

Bangchak sells 30 million litres of B20 a month, he said.

Mr Chaiwat said the company plans to add a further 40 petrol stations in 2019, bringing the total to 1,225 stations, with a budget of 1 billion baht for the expansion.

Bangchak also launched biodiesel B20S, positioned as high-quality diesel.

"We added a purifier in B20 to reduce fuel consumption by 4.7% compared with normal B20," Mr Chaiwat said.

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