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indicator of the bio-based content. The test method used was the ASTM D6866 which is “Standard Test Methods for Determining the Bio-based Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis”. Table 1 presents the percentage of biobased content for the test greases in this study.


Table 1: Percentage of Renewable Carbon (bio-based content) in test greases.


From Table 1 above, two of the bio-based greases had bio-based content levels of 61 to 81% which exceed the requirement of the USDA labeling of bio-based rail curve greases currently set at 43%. The third bio-based grease #3, had less than the minimum content to meet the labeling requirement of the USDA Biopreferred program. All of the mineral oil-based greases showed to have renewable carbon content below the required acceptable level of bio-based content. The percent of biobased content in petroleum greases correspond to the percent of stearic acid that is commonly used in simple lithium grease formulations. Of course if another fatty acid is used as the complexing agent for lithium complex grease, the biobased test would show a higher level of biobased content as indicated by mineral oil based grease 1 Cold Temp at 10%.,


Bio-based content of greases is an indication of the percent renewable hydrocarbon typically derived from plant or animal sources. The USDA Biopreferred labeling has established a listing of minimum bio-based content requirements for a product to be classified as Biobased. Of the three sets of summer and winter bio-based greases that were tested one set was borderline having less the minimum USDA required bio-based content while two sets of summer and winter greases had bio-based content well above the minimum requirements. As expected the mineral oil-based greases showed below the required minimal bio-based content which corresponds to the stearic acid often used in formulating the lithium or lithium complex greases. In sourcing bio-based greases, it is important to ensure that the product meets or exceeds the required minimum amount as specified by USDA.


The results of tests for biodegradability, aquatic toxicity, and plant toxicity appear in the full report available on line.


LINK www.elmusa.com


*NOTICE 1


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Government, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. The United States Government assumes no liability for the content or use of the material contained in this document.


*NOTICE 2


The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the objective of this report.


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