Stakeholders prepared for B10 shift in January
The Energy Business Department and fuel traders are ready for the mandatory diesel shift from biodiesel B7 to B10 in January.
B10 will soon be the primary diesel available at petrol stations across the country. B7 will remain an alternative for incompatible vehicles.
The government wants to increase the methyl ester content in biodiesel from 7% to 10%. Methyl ester is distilled from crude palm oil, so the higher content is meant to absorb the country's surplus of this material.
Biodiesel also releases lower emissions than normal diesel, a detail the government is counting on to help resolve the country's pollution problem.
Somboon Norkeaw, the department's deputy permanent secretary, said the department has talked with 13 methyl ester makers to prepare for the standardised biodiesel in line with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
"Nine methyl ester producers have passed JAMA's standard, while four are awaiting the association's certification this year," he said. "All B10 makers have agreed to making this the mandatory diesel."
JAMA sets a standard for monoglyceride content in wax for crude palm oil at less than 0.4% by weight, down from 0.7%.
B10 must have water content of less than 200 parts per million, down from 300 PPM.
Mr Somboon said the B10 retail price will be lower than B7 by two baht per litre.
The government is also offering B20 at three baht per litre less than B10. The state is trimming its levy collection for the state Oil Fund.
Local petrol stations have three types of biodiesel: B7, B10 and B20. From October, B10 will be available at petrol stations that wish to provide it.
Mr Somboon said B10 consumption will increase use of crude palm oil to 2 million tonnes annually from 1.5 million for B7.
Auttapol Rerkpiboon, chairman of PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR), said PTT is already selling B10 at 50 petrol stations nationwide and plans to expand oil dispenser outlets to a further 100 stations by 2019.
PTTOR is voluntarily distributing B20 at 500 stations out of 1,800 total stations.
Mr Auttapol said PTTOR is ready to sell B10 as the primary diesel, while B7 will also be available at some stations.
"PTTOR has met the two standards for methyl ester and B10 for when the mandatory diesel takes effect," he said.
Chairit Simaroj, managing director of Susco, said the petrol retailer will distribute B10 from early 2020 and expects no interruptions in commercial sales.
Susco has six underground oil tanks, which means there will be insufficient storage capacity should B7 remain in the tanks, he said.
Furthermore, some European vehicles are incompatible with B10, Mr Chairit said.
Susco has talked to the government for several months and expressed its intention to distribute B10 voluntarily.
"Susco is making B10 available at 105 petrol stations nationwide," Mr Chairit said.