Efficiency, protection at odds in synthetic lubes – NPRA

11 November 2011 20:56  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Engine care and fuel efficiency are at odds in the US synthetic base oils segment landscape, according to a speaker on Friday at the 2011 National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA) Lubes & Wax conference.

“What tends to help engine protection hampers fuel economy,” Erika Vela of UK-based additive manufacturer Infineum said, explaining why synthetic base oil blends and fully synthetic oils were losing identity and shifting into a merged landscape.

“Marketing terms say nothing about oil quality performance,” Vela said.

Oil quality performance is under a close watch in the industry as blenders must consider changing from the minimum 10% synthetic base oil content in formulations to figures approaching 30% use of premium base stocks, such as Group III.

Group III base oils are characterised by low viscosity ratings that aid lubricants in meeting increasingly rigourous performance standards.

“Branded marketers will need to defend value because private label synthetics are making market incursions,” Vela said. “A mid-tier group of products is seen to be emerging.”  

The push behind the shifting landscape in the synthetic oil market is coming from new requirements by the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) and its GF-5 initiative.

Under the ILSAC GF-5, new lubricants are being designed to deliver improvement in fuel economy, engine oil robustness and the protection of emission control systems.

The Lube & Wax NPRA session in Houston ends on 11 November.

By: Judith Taylor
+1 713 525 2653

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