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Report: Toyota, Nippon Oil and Petronas to Develop Palm-Oil Biodiesel

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Toyota and Nippon Oil will work with Petronas, the Malaysian oil company, to develop palm-oil biodiesel for import to Japan or for sale to other overseas markets.

The companies reportedly will start collaborative research next year and intend to begin test production in Malaysia in 2009.

Petronas will supply palm oil, Nippon Oil will handle developing the production technology and Toyota will test the fuel in cars. Based on the results of the test program, the companies will decide the scale and timing of the rollout.

Japan plans to establish national biodiesel standards by the end of this year.



And where is the bulk of the palm oil grown? On land "reclaimed" from rain forest. Yes, this is clearly a green solution.....

my name

Green or not, somehow we need to produce fuel. I just read today, where everyone predicts big fuel shortage in ten years. They predict that driving a car will be a luxurious thing. It is somewhat confusing that other people are worried about GHG emissions.

Charles S

"It is somewhat confusing that other people are worried about GHG emissions."

Why do they have to be separate? GHG, thus climate change, have already caused havoc on production of certain crops (wheat, for example). Improper management of our lands will probably result in shortage in biofuel production in the long run.

If peak oil theories are right on the dot, that does not mean that the world will have no need for ANY fuel, but rather fuel for public/personal transportation will be greatly affected. People may have to give up their cars, but goods, especially food, will still have to be transported by methods that will consume the remaining supply of fuel.

I don't want to make this to be about peak oil, being green, or about climate change, because it's all somewhat irrelevant. Our energy consumption rate will not change until some major disruption occur, thus all that's left is whether you believe the theories or not.

If not, be happy that your next ten years will be secure in terms of availability of energy. If you do worry about such issues, you can do things for yourself to prepare; learn how to live with less energy; this is not only good for helping the cause, but once you get energy cost down to a small percentage of your expenditure, then any major spike in energy prices will affect you as much as others. You can spend more money on insulation for your home. If you’re in the market to replace appliances, TV, water-heater, or AC units, do a little research and invest into energy-efficient models.

We can debate about technology X that will saving us all in the future, but driving a sensible, fuel-efficient vehicle that will meet most of your needs, and rent the big trucks for the occasional events would do plenty to saving money and fuel. Help your company develop the carpooling program in case public transportation is not available, so that if/when gas prices finally hit Y dollars per gallon, you can still commute to work. Do what you think is best to prepare, cause I think that’s probably the most that one can do these days…

Charles S

"...learn how to live with less energy; this is not only good for helping the cause, but once you get energy cost down to a small percentage of your expenditure, then any major spike in energy prices will affect you as much as others."

Ugh! I meant to say "any major spike... will NOT affect" those spend less of their monthly income on fuel.

I do not know if many people monitor their energy usage monthly, but for my wife and I, we use about 30 gallons of gas a month, and a range of 400 to 600 kWh of electricity per month. If gas doubles or triples next year (or the next decade) we still have a buffer to adopt. If nothing happens, the saved fuel would just be extra cash we didn't have to spend on wasted energy.

my name

Thanks for the answer. I already have nearly the smallest available car, the European version of the Geo Metro. And no AC, neither in the car nor at home. So fully prepared for the Peak...or at least as prepared as possible.


Palm oil, while more energy dense than most feedstock, produces approximately 635 gallons per acre/year. The numbers coming from photo-bioreactor algae per acre/year indicate as much as 150,000 gallons bio-oil possible. And on unused land not forested or previously used by agriculture.

This process yields bio-oil at ~$20.00/barrel significatnly less than petro or palm. With enough urgency the shift to biofuels can happen over the next ten years.


All very well but most palm oil currently produced and especially in the Far East is grown on slash and burnt rainforests.

Charles S

The effort to save rainforests has gone on for years, but unfortunately, as fuel/material costs go up, the less people will care. Worse, since climate change, politics, and oil prices are somewhat cyclical, when public sympathy is high during dire times, all the emotional capital will drain away once things swing back toward "normal".

No one cared about hybrids, EV, or greater than 30-mpg until three years ago, and once people are used to $3/gal, the momentum for change (fuel efficiency) will roll straight out the backdoor.

I applaud those who keep spreading the word, because we all need to be reminded. However, I see little change until the next major interruption occurs.

kenneth johnstone

Palm oil sounds like a real winner, possibly planting jatropha trees between the palm if the root systems can coexist. No mention was made of a litres/hectare comparison for jojoba, karanja, jatropha, palm or switchgrass.
Here in Florida we have have a a big percentage of the total palm tree population and was wondering if fuel bearing plants could be grafted to exiting trees

Charles S

Just following the stats above, jatropha plant yields 202 gal/acre, compares to 635 for palm. Perhaps it's more a climate and soil issue, since parts of India is in full embrace of using jatropha for biodiesel.

An interesting contrast for jatropha in India is that some crops are planted along the rail lines, instead of having to cut down rainforest for land.


They don't call Rain Forests the lungs of the World for no reason.

Simply producing green fuels is not the only answer. You need to reduce consumption and minimise the impact the alternative fuels will have otherwise you may as well burn oil.

This proposal is not a solution worthy of any merit. Not that palm oil itself is the problem, just that growing it in Malysia is an enviromental disaster.


Keep pointing fingers to Malaysia is unfair. In fact, we are just producing whatever needed. And also, it is not Malaysia that is praticing forest burning for plantation, it is Indonesian who burn the forest for plantation and haze out the entire region.

Malaysian oil palm estate are praticing zero burning policy, empty fruit branches are left to decay in the estate into organic fertilizer. We are more or less stop expanding our oil palm estates but focused on improving the current plantation. Come visit our national park if you keep saying we clear out the forest for fuel.

Instead of pointing fingers why not find out whats the best solution? Rather then keep saying algae oil can save the world, why not think hard how many % of the US deserts were used for agriculture? Unless say you can stop driving and dump your SUV and get a bicycle for everyone in the family.


I'm not American chap so I don't drive an SUV.

I'm repeating what I've read in numerous newspapers about Palm oil plantations. So where did these plantations come from originally? Open ground?

I'm only referring to Malaysia here as it was Petronas that was mentioned (who are a Malaysian company last time I looked). I'm sure you're right that there are worse culprits out there though eg Indonesia, I'd have to take your word for it.


"Green or not, somehow we need to produce fuel."

Bollocks. I'd rather face a fuel shortage than clear-cut rainforests for palm plantations. They're some of the best carbon sinks on the face of the planet, and cutting and burning them releases carbon into the atmosphere just as catastrophically as fossil fuel use. The sort of thinking embodied in this quote is exactly why we're facing a problem. "Who cares about rainforests? The status quo MUST stay exactly the way it is, or change just enough to be comfortable!"


It is extremely sad to see rain forest to be chopped into pieces or burnt into bits like this. But heck, this is just a supply and demand graph. Somebody is frying chicken with palm oil everyday, someone else gotta produce the oil somewhere.

And the biodiesel, actually, it is EU that have high demand for it, and the price is good. Another supply and demand stuff. Oil palm planters are extremely attracted by how rapeseed oil price were brought up by biodiesel. They want money.

Even thou the gov here in M'sia said they stopped clearing rain forest, but how is it? Or it is just some public feel good reaction? Just like soy oil producers always bash palm oil for being unhealthy and killing rain forest, we are bashing all the western majerin oil have high trans fatty acid that clogs you heart.

Now who is speaking the truth? Who should we believe? no matter what, the consumer is going to be the victim.


If you go to the website, anyone can calculate one’s energy usage in terms of how many planets are needed for your particular 'lifestyle.'

By reducing his/her own ecological footprint, you may feel that you are actually doing a good deed for the planet.

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