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friendly in terms of biodegradability and toxicity and have a longer service life than products based on vegetable oils and unsaturated esters, due to their higher oxidation stability.

Their high viscosity index results in excellent performance across a wide temperature range, reducing corrosion and protecting equipment too, making the products appealing for high intensity sectors. It is an overall efficient choice, as well as a reliable one.

That being said, however, operators will pay a heavy price for it. Synthetic ester hydraulic fluid is three to five times more expensive than petroleum-based products, and it has limitations that some sectors will not be able to overlook. It has poor hydrolytic stability, otherwise known as stability in the presence of water, which makes it unworkable for some applications, as well as poor seal compatibility (a general shortcoming of esters) which is a risk that all operators should consider.

High viscosity index (VI) mineral oil-based products may not be the least expensive option, but their performance benefits mean in total cost ownership terms they offer the operator the most competitive solution, contributing to environmental responsibility.

Their long service life, superior oxidation stability and better seal compatibility reduce the risk of leaks. These factors save energy and help protect the environment.

Operationally, a high VI mineral oil-based product performs over a wide operating temperature range, meaning it is applicable across multiple industries and climates.

It is suitable for sectors such as mining, forestry and construction, which comes not just from its thermal stability, but because it provides excellent hydrolytic stability, something that is not possible with vegetable oil and synthetic ester based alternatives, which are unstable in the presence of water, reducing their service life and risking equipment damage and corrosion.

The effects of better fuel efficiency, including less CO2 released into the atmosphere, fewer oil drain intervals,

less waste, and an extension to the life of the machine, are all both performance and environmental advantages.


There is one further consideration that machinery operators and company owners might make when choosing their lubricant – the environmental credentials of the lubricants’ supplier and their products. And rightly so.

A mineral oil-based hydraulic fluid can meet regulatory demands, performance expectations and provide excellent value, which is testament to how far they have come.

Operators face a choice when it comes to environmentally responsible fluids, but with the advance of lubrication technology, mineral oil-based hydraulic fluids can now offer an environmentally sound and sustainable solution that does not sacrifice performance, protects equipment, and maximises savings.


Matthias Voss joined Petro-Canada Lubricants, a HollyFrontier business, in January 2018 having held similar positions at other major global chemical and lubricant suppliers. At Petro-Canada Lubricants, Matthias is a senior technical advisor

supporting a variety of Industrial and Fleet businesses in Europe.

Matthias has studied Chemistry and is holding a PhD in Metalorganic Chemistry from the University of Münster.

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