Lubricants to play key role in fuel economy, CO2 emissions reductions - Nissan

Author: Barbara Ortner

2019/02/21

LONDON (ICIS)--Low viscosity base oils, or lubricants, will be key to improving fuel economy and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, an executive from Nissan said on Thursday.

Automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need further technical developments in lubricants to make these improvements, said Takumaru Sagawa, manager of the powertrain materials group at the Japanese automobile major.

The advantage of using low viscosity lubricants to realise fuel economy is that OEMs will not need to make major (vehicle) component changes.

Sagawa was speaking to delegates at the 23rd ICIS World Base Oils & Lubricants Conference, held on 18-22 February in London.

“Electrification will be expanded, but the internal combustion engine (ICE) will still keep the major powertrain,” said Sagawa.

“CO2 regulation is tightening … and penalty or tax incentives have been introduced for CO2 reduction. The EU has agreed on 37.5% CO2 reduction by 2030 [compared to 2021 levels].”

Some lower viscosity grades have been under consideration to get additional tax incentives, especially in Japan, he added.

In addition, additives have a role to play.

“High performance base oils are expected, but compatibility with additives needs to be considered,” said Sagawa.

The areas of current interest in this field are additive solubility, friction modifiers and seal compatibility, he added.

There will probably be moves in the future for OEMs, which currently have their own complicated lubricant specifications, to standardise and simplify, to reduce costs.

Discussions are due to take place in Europe in the near future, the Japanese executive said.

Pictured: Storage tanks for lubricants in the Duisburg inland port, Germany; archive image
Source: Jochen Tack/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock