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The government of Indonesia has launched road tests for two types of B40 – biodiesel containing 40% palm oil – with the aim of concluding by the end of the year if they are viable for public use, Reuters reported the energy ministry as saying.

The government currently mandates that all diesel sold in the country must contain 30% palm oil – B30 – the highest compulsory blend in the world.

Indonesia – the world’s top palm oil producer – has long-term plans to increase the concentration of vegetable oil in transport fuels in a bid to cut fuel imports, according to the 28 July report, with officials recently pushing for a higher proportion to soak up excess palm oil supplies.

Last year, the country conducted its first test flight using jet fuel mixed with palm oil, Reuters wrote.

The fuels to be tested over the next few months are diesel mixed with 40% fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), known as B40, and B30D10, which is diesel with 30% FAME mixed with 10% green diesel made of refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palm oil.

The blends would be tested on 12 of the most popular passenger car models and commercial vehicles over 50,000 km and 40,000 km, respectively, the ministry’s head of renewable energy Dadan Kusdiana was quoted as saying.

“We have improved fuel specifications so that they're better than B30,” Kusdiana said.

Efforts to increase FAME concentrations in biodiesel had faced resistance by users who complained that it required s special handling and equipment due to the fuel’s solvent effect that could corrode engine seals and gasket materials, the report said.

Full checks would be conducted on each vehicle during and after running the trial runs to review the fuels’ impact, officials said.

The government had previously said that B35 biodiesel would be available from this month, but this move had been postponed, the report said. A separate B35 laboratory test would be conducted, Kusdiana said.

Indonesia’s biodiesel consumption is forecast to be at least 10.15bn litres this year and the government expects B40 to increase total biodiesel consumption by up to 3.5bn litres/year.

The country’s current production capacity is 18bn litres/year.