Increased biodiesel use to favour top-tier lubricants - Infineum

19 February 2010 17:39  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Increased use of biodiesel in the global marketplace will favour the use of top-tier lubricants, which mainly come from high-quality base oils, an industry executive with chemical additives company Infineum said on Friday.

“The use of biodiesel is increasing across the globe, especially in places like Brazil and Europe. But first-generation biodiesel does pose some issues to standard engine oil lubricants,” said Marco Corradi.

He was speaking at the 14th ICIS World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference in London, UK.

First-generation biodiesels are based mainly on fatty acid methyl esters (FAME).

Among the challenges, biodiesel has a high boiling range, possibly causing FAME accumulation in the lubricant, Corradi said.

In addition, he said, the unsaturated components can oxidise, leading to corrosion of metal parts and bearings.

And in low temperatures, wax-like impurities can build up, he said.

“We hear second-generation biodiesel is on the way, which is expected to be more like fossil-derived diesel, but it remains to be seen if it will have any less impact on the lubricants,” said Corradi.

“For now, we must look at the challenges the first-generation biodiesel causes to engines and look for solutions,” he added.

Infineum prepared tests to measure oxidation stability, copper and lead corrosion, and risk of low-temperature failure, he said.

“In the tests, we find that top-tier lubricants may provide better protection in oxidative environment promoted by biodiesel lubricant dilution,” said Corradi.

The tests also showed that top-tier lubricants may provide better protection in a corrosive environment, he added.

Corradi said that higher-quality base stocks are key enablers in preparing the lubricants for biodiesel engines.

Higher-quality base stocks are generally Group II and Group III base oils, but Corradi said that tailored formulations are also possible.

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Author: Heather Doyle

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