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Lube-Tech


Biogenic materials are used in bio-based lubricants and in some synthetic lubricants.


The demand for bio-based lubricants is predicted to rise to 1.06 million tonnes by 2023.


Current Sources of Bio-based Lubricants Most bio-based lubricants are derived from natural oils, predominantly vegetable oils and vegetable oilseeds such as rapeseed or sunflower. As lubricants they can be used as the naturally occurring esters or triglycerides of vegetable oils, oleochemical esters of fatty acids or complex esters.


The demand for vegetable oils continues to rise. Global annual production of vegetable oils was 55 million tonnes in 1980 which rose to 100 million tonnes by 2000. It is predicted to soon reach 200 million tonnes.


In 2009 21.2% of global fats and oils was used for non-food, industrial purposes. [2]


Alternative Sources of Bio-Based Lubricants Globally there exists a significant amount of waste fats and oils. These waste oils have found their use in applications such as biofuel production. However, these waste fats and oils contain a significant level of valuable natural fatty acids that could be used in higher value applications such as bio-based lubricants. [3]


Table 1. gives an outline of some of the waste fats and oils types which exist globally along with the potential tonnage currently available.


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.135 page 2


Analysis of waste fats and oils To perform effective and accurate analysis of waste fats and oils a combination of using existing analytical test methods, modified test methods and in-house developed test methods is required.


The characterisation of fatty acids contained in waste fats and oils is critical to assess the value and properties of any waste-stream being utilised. Table 2 gives a summary of the fatty acid analysis carried out on waste fats and oils.


Table 2: Waste fats and oils fatty acid breakdown


Several techniques exist for the characterisation of fatty acids and is dependent on several factors. One of the most important is the level of free fatty acids (FFAs) and triglycerides contain in the waste oil. Either the FFAs or triglycerides, are converted into their associated methyl esters and then analysed to give levels of individual fatty acids using gas chromatography.


The handling of waste fats and oils is inherently challenging as waste materials are discarded substances or substances of little value to the original user. Table 3 gives an approximate summary of some of the impurities found in waste fats and oils along with their indicative levels.


Table 1: Types of waste fats and oils


Table 3: Levels of impurities within waste fats and oils


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.164 AUGUST 2021


25


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