Lubricant World

FUCHS and BASF col­lab­o­rate for a holis­tic sus­tain­abil­ity as­sess­ment and more sus­tain­able lu­bri­cant prod­ucts


more than 10 years FUCHS has con­tin­u­ously been driv­ing its sus­tain­abil­ity strat­egy as con­tri­bu­tion for cli­mate pro­tec­tion within the lu­bri­cant in­dus­try. BASF, a long­stand­ing com­po­nent part­ner of FUCHS, has a solid his­tory of suc­cess in the area of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. With a re­cent Eco-Ef­fi­ciency Anal­y­sis (EEA) for dif­fer­ent min­eral oil based hy­draulic flu­ids, jointly ex­e­cuted by FUCHS and BASF's global busi­ness unit Fuel and Lu­bri­cant So­lu­tions, the two part­ners have now es­tab­lished a strong case for a holis­tic real fact-based sus­tain­abil­ity as­sess­ment of lu­bri­cants-hy­draulic flu­ids.

Con­trary to the cur­rently dom­i­nant cra­dle-to-gate ap­proach, which only as­sesses a par­tial prod­uct life cy­cle un­til a prod­uct has been man­u­fac­tured, the eval­u­a­tion of dif­fer­ent hy­draulic flu­ids was con­ducted em­ploy­ing a cra­dle-to-grave ap­proach when as­sess­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic as­pects of the in­volved prod­ucts in their full life cy­cle from sourc­ing of the raw ma­te­ri­als, over pro­duc­tion, their use phase and the dis­posal. Holis­ti­cally con­sid­er­ing the prod­ucts' full life cy­cle around the usage in a crawler ex­ca­va­tor, the find­ings of the EEA study clearly in­di­cated the lower en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and lower over­all cost es­pe­cially in use of the stud­ied pre­mium HVLP fluid (high per­for­mance multi­grade hy­draulic oil) ver­sus stan­dard HLP fluid (mono­grade hy­draulic oil). This ad­van­tage is mainly based on an im­proved diesel fuel econ­omy through­out the use phase - pri­mar­ily due to im­proved vol­u­met­ric fluid ef­fi­ciency lower fric­tion and lower fluid mass cir­cu­la­tion ra­tio - which clearly over­com­pen­sates a slightly higher en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print of th­ese prod­ucts in the cra­dle-to-gate phase. The im­proved fuel econ­omy was en­abled mainly through the higher hy­draulic fluid ef­fi­ciency of the spe­cific fully for­mu­lated multi­grade hy­draulic oils.

“With this study we are jointly pioneer­ing the as­sess­ment of sus­tain­abil­ity as­pects within the lu­bri­cant in­dus­try,” said Dr. Lutz Lin­de­mann, Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer, FUCHS PETROLUB SE. “We re­ally value the broad com­pe­ten­cies around sus­tain­abil­ity and an­a­lyt­i­cal meth­ods which BASF has brought to the ta­ble to make it hap­pen in com­bi­na­tion with prac­ti­cal, re­al­is­tic and ap­pli­ca­tion rel­e­vant FUCHS know-how. FUCHS and BASF are cur­rently look­ing at fur­ther cases to jointly eval­u­ate, but also at ap­pli­ca­tion cases for BASF's sus­tain­able prod­uct port­fo­lio of lu­bri­cant com­po­nents.”

“Sus­tain­abil­ity is at the core of our busi­ness,” added Dr. Ju­lia Frey, Vice Pres­i­dent Busi­ness Man­age­ment EMEA Fuel and Lu­bri­cant So­lu­tions, BASF SE. “As a lead­ing solution provider to the in­dus­tries we serve, it is our as­pi­ra­tion to con­tin­u­ally, to­gether with our part­ners, ad­vance the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a fact-based ap­proach to the topic within the fuel and lu­bri­cant sec­tor.”

This study is a first ex­am­ple that demon­strates on the one hand the su­pe­rior rel­e­vance of a cra­dle-to-grave ver­sus a cra­dle-to-gate as­sess­ment and on the other hand the pos­i­tive im­pact of a spe­cial de­signed multi­grade high VI (vis­cos­ity in­dex) hy­draulic fluid on such a cra­dle-to-grave anal­y­sis. The flu­ids in­ves­ti­gated were all min­eral oil based hy­draulic flu­ids of dif­fer­ent qual­ity lev­els. Fur­ther ben­e­fi­cial im­pacts on EEAs can be ex­pected upon usage of ester based, so called biodegrad­able ester based (HEES) hy­draulic flu­ids. Such flu­ids are known to in­her­ently pos­sess high shear sta­ble VIs and in ad­di­tion lead to lower fric­tion com­pared to stan­dard min­eral oil-based flu­ids. An­other en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit is their biodegrad­abil­ity. In­ves­ti­ga­tions with such ester-based flu­ids could be a next step.

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