• Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants
    Standards for products like renewable jet fuels will help move the circular economy forward.

Fuel for Thought

Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants

Jun 19 2021

Looming over this activity are two fundamental questions: What exactly is an environmentally acceptable lubricant? And how do ship operators distinguish among the many available options?
Regarding the first question, Fish points out that it depends on the organization. “The National Lubricating Grease Institute uses the phrase ‘containing a biobased fluid’ but does not seem to have a minimum concentration. Other organizations have their own — and typically different — definitions.” For instance, Europe’s liquid petroleum products — biolubricants — criteria and requirements of biolubricants and biobased lubricants (EN16807) standard is applied to fully formulated products and requires renewable content of at least 25%.
In the United States, the EPA defined biolubricants in a 2011 report on the subject as “products that have been demonstrated to meet standards for biodegradability, low aquatic toxicity, and bioaccumulation potential that minimize their likely adverse consequences in the aquatic environment, compared to conventional lubricants.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred program lists the minimum amount of bioderived material in the lubricant.
This program also includes a voluntary labeling protocol for biobased products. Under the general heading of lubricants and greases, 13 types of products are listed. Included are greases, chain and cable lubricants, gear lubricants, multipurpose lubricants, and other lubricants, all of which have marine applications.
Standards for products like renewable jet fuels will help move the circular economy forward.

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