Increasing Focus on Energy Efficiency and Environmental Safety: A Novel Challenge to Lubricant Additive Formulators

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 21-Nov-2017

Lubricant additives are performance enhancer solutions which are added to the lubricants in order to enhance the lubricant quality. These additives rather than improving the performance, also increases the shelf life of the lubricants and helps in reducing exhaust emission. Enforcement of stringent emission regulations and methods to increase the lubricant economy is a critical factor that drives the market for these additives. Additives that boost combustion efficiency, reduce emission, and help to adhere to various standards are expected to gain popularity in the market. 

The growing emphasis on energy efficacy and environmental safety of lubricants poses novel challenges for lubricant formulators, preventing or restricting the use of certain time-proven chemistries, such as ZDDP in engine oil or boric acid in MWF formulations. Similarly, it stimulates the search for new classes of additives, including all-organic ashless friction modifiers, nano-additives, and bio-based superlubricity additives, as well as fundamental studies into how individual additives work. Friction is a result of metal-to-metal contact which happens amid two opposite surfaces moving relative to on another. The greater is the amount of contact, the greater amount of friction it is. Consequently, more energy is required to move the surfaces relative to one another. This friction results in higher electrical power costs. However the use of enhanced, high performance lubricants can reduce this friction. Therefore when friction is reduced, less electricity is required to drive a gearbox, air compressor and more. Hence, additive formulators are focusing more towards providing high quality products.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) specifications for lubricant performance will remain to drive variations in formulations, with specific focus on lubricants’ contribution to meet various emissions standards heading to augmented demands placed on related lubricant characteristics. Environmental concerns will remain to play a vital role in lubricant formulation and use. Moreover, reduction of elements such as chlorine, phosphorus, sulfur, and metals has proceeded at a rapid pace over the past decade, particularly in automotive lubricants. Use of more environmentally friendly fuels, including renewable fuels, in both automotive and industrial engines will also drive changes in lubricant formulation and additive demand.

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