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Lube-Tech Mr Martin Kingsley, R&D Manager, Argent Energy Ltd Introduction


Bio-based substances have been used as effective lubricants for hundreds of years. Animal and vegetable oils were used in Roman times to lubricate chariot axles, although there is some evidence to support the use of lubricants as early as during the Copper Age. Their adoption and use have become more widespread in the last 50 years due mainly to environmental concerns although in certain applications bio-based components can give a performance benefit over other lubricant chemistry. With increasing drives towards sustainable sourcing and use, the uptake of bio-lubricants continues to rise as does the manufacture of bio-based crude oil equivalent lubricants.


Current bio-lubricant manufacture is derived almost entirely from virgin pressed seed oils or rendered animal fats. Vegetable feedstocks require direct or indirect land use. Whilst still sustainable, the use of land and crops which could otherwise be used for human/animal consumption has been questioned.


Market


The bio-lubricant market continues to grow but is still a fraction of the entire lubricant market. Similarly, mineral oil substitutes/alternatives, are becoming more widely available but still make up a very small proportion of the market.


The global demand for lubricants is shown in Graph 1. Global Lubricant Uptake


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.135 page 1


The use of alternative feedstocks as renewable and biodegradable lubricants


Graph 1: Global Lubricant Market by Type Figure 1: Early use of lubricants in chariots


Graph 1. shows the global lubricant can be divided between mineral oil-based lubricants (87.72%, 32.63 million tonnes), synthetic lubricants (9.95%, 3.70 million tonnes) and bio-based lubricants (2.33%, 870000 tonnes). (1)


24 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.164 AUGUST 2021


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