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Lube-Tech


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.112 page 4


Figure 3. Main properties of European Ecolabel certified, NLGI 2 ester based Li grease


One element that might be put forward against the use of esters in sustainable greases is the controversial, extensive use of palm oil as feedstock for the production of fatty acids of renewable origin. However, a majority of palm oil derivatives producers are RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) certified, which should make for a more responsible approach to extensive palm growth.


Also, whilst we can state clearly that synthetic esters do show excellent environmental profiles, we are not in a position to compare their carbon footprint with that of other base fluids. This brings us to the notion of judgement of the relative importance of criteria.


As an illustration, marine pollution from stern tube oil spills is estimated to reach 80 million liters per annum4


. Switching from


mineral oil based lubricants to European Ecolabel certified, ester based lubricant does make a huge difference for the marine environment. Should reduced CO2


emissions be favoured over marine pollution?


1 ILCD Handbook, ISO 14040-44 2 http://www.ecolabelindex.com


3 Stachowiak, G.W.; Batchelor, A.W. Engineering Tribology. Tribology Series, 24; Elsevier Science: Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1993 4 The Challenge of Stern Tube Bearings and Seals - Mr. John Thornhill BSc (Hons) CEng FIMechE, General Manager of Seals, Wärtsilä UK Ltd


36 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.141 OCTOBER 2017


7. Conclusion


Synthetic esters demonstrate a unique combination of high performance features and excellent environmental profile.


Greases complying with existing standards can be produced using such base fluids. These greases are of particular interest in areas where potential release to the environment is a concern: marine applications, water catchment areas, total loss lubrication...


Extending this notion to sustainability requires a heavy, complex study including a Life Cycle Analysis.


However, some level of personal appreciation remains when it comes to evaluating the “level of sustainability” of a grease.


LINK www.nyco.fr


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