Bio-lubricants are natural products used to lubricate engines; they are mainly used in two-stroke engines, railroad flanges, dust suppressants, cables, marine lubricants, chainsaw bars, and chains. These lubricants are used in applications where the lubricant undergoes total loss (i.e. where the lubricant is either burned or ejected). Bio-lubricants are also used in sensitive environments such as waterways and national parks, among others. Bio-lubricants are biodegradable, renewable, environment-friendly, and economical, thereby reducing pollution.
Bio-lubricants are oil-based lubricants made of either vegetable oil or animal fat. Vegetable oils such as linseed, soybean, rapeseed, canola, palm, and coconut oils are used to produce bio-lubricants. Lubricants produced using vegetable oil are mainly used in environmentally sensitive areas such as forests, rivers, and mountains. In the case of animal fats, oil collected as a by-product of the meat packaging industry is used as a lubricant. Animal fat is collected from fats derived from sheep, cattle, and hogs. Animal fat lubricants are used not only in petroleum and metal processing but also in chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Additives are often added to lubricants to enhance their characteristics.
Due to high viscosity, bio-lubricants can be used in a wide temperature range. They have lower emissions compared to mineral oils and esters that have a wetting tendency, which leads to a decrease in friction and provides an equal or higher tool life. Bio-lubricants also provide safety, better skin compatibility, lesser oil mist, and reduce oil vapor, which means lesser inhalation into the lungs. Bio-lubricants have a high flash point, which prevents them from easily catching fire.
Bio-lubricants are still in an evolving stage, where researchers are trying to increase their energy efficiency. Earlier, bio-lubricants were solely used as total loss lubricants, and their use was limited to few industrial and agriculture purposes. End-users only used bio-lubricants when some kind of regulation compelled them to switch. Nowadays, researchers are modifying conventional bio-lubricants into synthetic bio-lubricants, which can be modified as per the application.
Many companies are trying to blend bio-lubricants to form their base stocks through synthetic lubricants. The increase in the number of regulatory policies has spurred the demand for bio-lubricants in the construction sector. The use of bio-lubricants as PCMO (Passenger Car Motor Oil) is still in its nascent stage and the market is expected to grow in the upcoming years as many environmental regulations, and more advanced bio-lubricants will be introduced.
Governments are mandating the use of environment-friendly lubricants in places such as forests, aquatic areas, mountains, agricultural lands, and places where mineral-based oil can be harmful to employees. For instance, bio-lubricants introduced in the market must follow biodegradable criteria issued by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Many companies are taking cognizance of the importance of sustainability. The EU roughly estimates that 3 million tonnes of oil, which includes lubricating oil, is wasted each year and this leads companies to adopt bio-lubricants in order to achieve sustainability goals.
The growing acceptance of bio-lubricants by end-use industries is driving the market considerably. High-quality bio-lubricants provide improved efficiency and better durability. Green public policies in the field of construction have also spurred the growth of the bio-hydraulic fluids market. Employee health has also become a significant factor contributing to the increase in the use of bio-lubricants in the metalworking industry, automobile industry, and general manufacturing.
The use of bio-lubricants due to their non-toxicity and biodegradability has been increasing in fields such as construction, automobile, pharmaceutical and agriculture, among others. Bio-lubricant applications in the automobile field are usually meant for two-stroke engines, where lubricating oil burns with the fuel. They are needed in engines used in jet skis, snow skis, vessels that ply in sensitive areas, and boats. Bio-lubricants are also required in the food, pharmaceutical, and animal feed industries. These lubricants are zinc-free and work under fluctuating temperatures.
Machines operating in waterways or rivers, during bank development, dredging, and hydroelectric plants, may come in contact with water and pollute it. Also, vessels such as trawlers, push-tugs, and recreational vehicles such as jet skis, and outboard engines come in direct contact with the water. There are machines that are used in the natural environment during construction work, and accidental spillage might harm the environment. These machines include construction, extraction, earth-moving, and drainage cleaning machinery. Machines that come in contact with the soil also require bio-lubricants due to their non-toxicity. Machines for soil preparation, agricultural equipment, and equipment such as chainsaws, brush cutters used in forestry work need bio-lubricants.
The implementation of the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in 2013 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compelled vessels flying in and around the U.S. to use environment-friendly lubricants in oil-to-sea interfaces, which are non-toxic and non-bio-accumulative. This resulted in an increase in the use of bio-lubricants and created awareness, prompting the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to start using environment-friendly lubricants in the Polar region from January 2017.
The European Union’s Ecolabel, Sweden’s SS 155434, and Germany’s Blue Angel scheme have all made policies regarding hydraulic fluids and greases, while the Nordic Swan developed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and Finland has strict criteria on biodegradability, toxicity, technical performance, and renewability. In Italy, there are additional taxes if mineral-based oil is used.
China is rapidly increasing its wind power capacity. The Gansu wind farm project under construction is expected to reach 20,000 MW potential by 2020, which is in line with its aim to reach 250 GW of wind power. This is a strong indicator of bio-lubricant market growth, as wind turbines need lubrication.
Developing economies are still not as stringent as developed economies in terms of sustainability. In the coming years, environmental concerns will see these economies enforcing more regulations, positively influencing the bio-lubricants market.
The rise of technology and advancements have influenced the lubricant industry as well. Nowadays, condition monitoring of lubricants is done using the Internet of Things (IoT) to achieve real-time information about the status of the lubricant. The lubricant’s life (until loss of its characteristics) can be known beforehand and replaced with another bio-lubricant total loss of its characteristics. The intent is to get rid of the requirement of taking a sample of the lubricant, sending it to a laboratory, and receiving the analysis in two-three days. Instead, installed inline sensors, data sources, and constant evaluation will enable the reception of a forecast of maximum run-time, optimization of the process, and recommendation of lubricant.
The growth in demand for electric vehicles is expected to positively impact the bio-lubricants market. Researchers from Fuchs are trying to develop bio-lubricants that can be used in electric vehicles. Electric vehicles require greases in the motor, gear oil for the transmission, and lubricant for the cooling system.
The bio-lubricants industry has competitors that include Shell International B.V., Exxon Mobil Corporation, BP, Klüber Lubrication München SE and Co. KG, Panolin AG, Fuchs Petrolub SE, Binol Bio-lubricants, Total S.A., Emery Oleochemicals Group, and RSC Biosolutions. Houghton and Quaker Chemical Co., after the acquisition of Binol Bio-lubricants, is also entering into the metalworking fluids and bio-lubricants sectors.
|Market Size||USD in Billion By 2030|
|Forecast Units||Value (USD Million)|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
|Segments Covered||by Base Oil Type (Vegetable Oils, Animal Fats), Application (Chainsaw Oils, Hydraulic Fluids), End- Use|
|Geographies Covered||North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, LAME and Rest of the World|
|Key Companies Profiled/Vendors||Shell International B.V., Exxon Mobil Corporation, BP, Klüber Lubrication München SE and Co. KG, Panolin AG, Fuchs Petrolub SE, Binol Bio-lubricants, Total S.A., Emery Oleochemicals Group, and RSC Biosolutions. Houghton and Quaker Chemical Co., after the acquisition of Binol Bio-lubricants, is also entering into the metalworking fluids and bio-lubricants sectors.|
|Key Market Opportunities||High Demand In Bulk Chemicals Sector Is Pushing Bio-Lubricants Market|