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Posted: March 16, 2007
Nanotechnology foils diesel misuse
(Nanowerk News) And here is our slow news Friday entry: A Malaysian newspaper reports that the use of nanotechnology has allowed the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to confiscate smuggled and illegally used subsidised diesel worth more than half-a-million ringgit (approx. US$140,000).
Its minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said raids conducted by the NanoTag Special Task Force between Dec 27 and March 13 found 39 companies illegally using subsidised diesel.
He said 342,400 litres of subsidised diesel worth RM500,162 was confiscated during the raids conducted by NanoTag Special Force branches in Putrajaya, Penang, Pahang, Kedah, Johor and Perak.
“Some of these companies are listed on Bursa Malaysia’s main board,” he told reporters during a press conference to announce the success of NanoTag.
Called the NanoTag programme, introduced last November, this is a system of 'tagging' subsidised diesel with nanoparticles at distribution depots of all fuel companies around the country before the product is being distributed.
A "Nano Strike Team", a special task force comprising 150 of the ministry's enforcement officers, supported by the Chemistry Department for forensic analysis conducts frequent and unscheduled spot checks on between 7,000 and 10,000 commercial premises using diesel across the nation. Enforcement officers can trace the nanotag using a special kit that can produce results in just three minutes.
Samples during the first month of the program showed that out of a total of 3,965 samples taken from 1,530 premises in one district, 70% or 1,193 were found to be using diesel marked with NanoTag.
Based on the sampling, it was estimated that the total volume of subsidised diesel abuse in the country had reached 225 million litres or losses worth approx US$ 45 million in terms of government subsidies.
The ministry's enforcement division deputy director-general (operations) Iskandar Halim Sulaiman said the use of nanotechnology to detect subsidised diesel had managed to halve cases involving misuse of the fuel, reducing the number of smuggling cases.