A clean future in shipping: whitepaper introduces a new generation of biodegradable lubricants

Ship operators are facing major challenges in competitiveness every day, one of them being the balancing act between profitability, cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability. The sustainability requirements they set for themselves or which are given by law, like the mandatory use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs), often come with further challenges: depending on their design and chemistry, commercially available EALs often do not match the performance of conventional mineral oil-based lubricants regarding the formation of a sufficiently strong oil film, their chemical stability with water and compatibility with seals. However, a new technology for producing long-lasting synthetic oil-based lubricants is heralding the next generation of EALs and shows that being ‘green’ does not have to mean compromising on technical performance.

A laboratory study conducted by Klüber Lubrication experts shows the differences between various EALs and a reference mineral oil. Among EALs tested, the new EAL for stern tubes by Klüber Lubrication, Klüberbio RM 8-100, shows the lowest increase of the Total Acid Number (TAN) when the lubricant is contaminated with water, while maintaining a strong oil film thickness. As water can compromise the lubricant and thus also the equipment, high chemical stability with water and film thickness, as offered by mineral oil-based lubricants, are essential. Only Klüberbio RM 8-100 comes closest to the reference mineral oil – meeting in the "green zone" (s. graphic), where an EAL maintains the performance required for reliable operation even under high load.

The results of the study show: Klüberbio RM 8-100 performs extremely well in both tests and is thus the only EAL in the same quadrant as the reference mineral oil.

In summary, the new innovative technology used by Klüber Lubrication leads to higher performance compared to other EALs and brings this synthetic oil-based lubricant closer to the mineral oil-based ones regarding oil film thickness and stability with water whereas in other performance criteria like oxidation stability and energy efficiency it even outperforms them.

If you wish to know more about this next generation of EALs, have a look at our new Whitepaper.

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