Lubricants from Biomass Research

Processing and use of biomass plant oils for motor oils.

Plant oils, such as soybean oil, are candidates for use in conventional lubricating oils due to their desirable properties, which include lower volatility, good lubricity and high solubilizing capacity for contaminants and additives. Plant oils are a renewable resource.  The reduced oxidation stability of biomass plant oils can be offset with appropriate additive packages. One initial concern was the impact of soybean oil in motor oil on the effectiveness of existing used motor oil upgrading processes.

A study conducted by Intertek Pilot Plant Services for the United Soybean Board in conjunction with Safety Kleen showed that the majority of the oleic soybean oil present in the used oil was removed from the conventional used oil at the vacuum distillation stage and remained with the spent polymer and additive systems in the bottoms fraction. IIIG Engine Sequence testing to generate the used motor oil also showed that the soybean oil at a level of 5% did not appear to decompose under the relatively severe engine operating conditions, while the used oil was significantly oxidized and degraded. These results suggest that incorporation of plant oil in motor oils should not impact the used motor oil re-refining process.

The Intertek Pilot Plant Center has extensive experience and capabilities to help clients address issues in implementing new technologies, such as biofuels processing research.

 
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