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Sime Darby takes the lead in biofuel

BANTING, March 24 (Bernama) -- Despite several challenges especially the high cost of producing bio-fuel, the Sime Darby Group is walking its talk and taking the lead in showing Malaysians that biodiesel will be fuel of the future.

The group today had its fleet of diesel engine cars and 4x4 vehicles, used by its senior managers and staff, filled with Bio-N, the palm based biofuel produced by the group.

In what was considered a symbolic launch in the usage of biofuel, the group had Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok filling up the vehicles with the biofuel at its biodiesel plant in Carey Island here.

It was to take the lead in using biofuel and also reflect their commitment to the usage of enviromental friendly fuel, said Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd's Managing Director, Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid.

He said Sime Darby Group President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid felt strongly that Sime Darby should walk the talk on the usage of biofuel regardless of costs.

Zubir himself and some senior managers in Sime Darby have exchanged their petrol engine BMW7 series to diesel ones and run them using biofuel made of five percent palm biodiesel and 95 percent petroleum diesel, Azhar said.

The cars are running fine, he added.

Azhar said they were several factors preventing the smooth promotion and usage of biodiesel in the country namely the higher price of crude palm oil which made biodiesel more expensive than petroleum based diesel.

He said the cost of biodiesel implementation was also quite high, estimated at RM250 million a year, while the need to subsidise the fuel and the question of who should bear the subsidy cost has remained, he said.

Nevertheless, despite the high cost issue, the group started using palm biodiesel blend in its upstream operations vehicles in March 2008 starting at their estates in Carey Island and later expanding it to other estates and oil mills in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

Asked on talks that Sime Darby's biodiesel operation was running at a loss, Azhar said no, but added that it barely covered the company's cost ofproduction.

The biodiesel business is very competitive not only in Malaysia but in Europe as well, he said.

Sime Darby's biodiesel business is represented by Sime Darby Biodiesel Sdn Bhd in Malaysia and CleanerG B.V. in Netherland with a total annual production of 290,000 tonnes.

The first plant in Malaysia with an annual production of 30,000 tonnes is located in Teluk Panglima Garang Selangor while the Carey Island plant built through a joint venture with Malaysian Palm Oil Board can produce 60,000 tonnes biodiesel annually.

MySinchew 2010.03.24

 

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