Bio-lubricants present opportunities for oleochems - consultant

20 October 2009 13:29  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS news)--Biodegradable lubricants present a big market opportunity for oleochemical companies, a consultant with Frost & Sullivan said on Tuesday.

By 2030, the majority of lubricants in Europe are expected to be biodegradable, said Robert Outram, Frost & Sullivan’s global program manager of specialty chemicals, in a presentation at the ICIS World Oleochemicals conference in Berlin, Germany.

“A lot of research is going on in the development of bio-lubricants. Electric vehicles being developed right now will also need new lubricants that will adapt to their specifications,” he said.

Fats and oils are being developed that can be used for base oils for lubricants,or further processed as lubricant additives.

A major driver for the development of bio-lubricants in Europe is upcoming legislation favouring bio-renewables, while harmonisation of eco-labels in Europe also presents opportunity for bio-lubricants.

A major challenge that faces bio-lubricants right now is that they are two-and-a-half to three times more expensive than conventional lubricants, said Outram.

“The use of vegetable oils as bio-lubricants also presents oxidative and temperature-stability issues,” he added.

Outram noted bioplastic additives for the packaging industry as another high-market potential for oleochemicals.

“The packaging industry is rapidly growing in emerging regions such as India, China and Brazil. However, growth in sustainable materials in packaging has not kept pace with this growth,” he added.

The two-day conference, which was attended by over 160 delegates, ends on 21 October.

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By: Doris de Guzman
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