LUBES’N’GREASES: Mandated Marine Lubes Vary Widely


Government requirements for environmentally acceptable lubricants are relatively simple, but performance properties of products available to the shipping industry can vary widely, according to speakers at a recent online event.

Speakers from several suppliers of biobased base oils and lubricants market shared insights during Marine Maritime Media’s Nov. 23 webinar, “Bio-lubricants for marine vessels and auxiliary equipment: a better return on investment.” They advised ship operators to understand the lubrication needs of their equipment as well as the chemical and performance properties of products on the market before making their selections.

The U.S. Vessel General Permit policy regulates discharges caused by normal operations of commercial vessels in U.S. territorial waters and the Great Lakes. It includes specific requirements for products used to lubricate stern tubes and other equipment that may be immersed in seawater or that may otherwise come in to direct contact with it, referred to as oil-to-water or oil-to-sea interfaces. Commercial vessels longer than 79 feet must use environmentally acceptable lubricants in all oil-to-sea interfaces, such as controllable pitch propellers, azimuth thrusters and paddle wheel propulsion systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defined these lubes as biodegradable and minimally-toxic and as not bio-accumulative.

Kevin Duncan, market applications specialist – energy technologies for Croda Europe, noted that environmentally acceptable lubricants are a viable and effective option for lubrication, but he added that it is important to understand the differences between different products. Key ISO classifications include hydraulic environmental triglycerides, hydraulic environmental ester oil synthetic, polyakylene glycol base such as polyglycol, and hydraulic environmental polyalphaolefin and related products.

Key factors such as oxidation stability and hydrolytic stability can vary between each classification, and within different producers under each classification. These differences underscore the importance of careful selection, he said. Oxidation stability and hydrolytic stability help slow oil degradation. Another desired effect of the oil, film forming behavior, helps eliminate engineering issues. Together, these help minimize the risk of equipment failure, Duncan said.

Ian Nielsen, strategic account representative for RSC Bio Solutions, noted that each type of hydraulic fluid is characterized by the chemical composition of its base oil. For example, those made with triglyceride base oil offer superior lubricity but rank lower in resistance to oxidation and water. Those made with PAOs and synthetic hydrocarbons offer the strongest oxidation and water resistances, superior lubricity and broad seal compatibility.

Don Gregory, technical director for Gulf Oil Marine, said biobased lubricants may be more sustainable, and they meet requirements because they are biodegradable, non-toxic and not bio-accumulative. Their high polarity makes them excellent lubricants, he noted, and they typically offer a high viscosity index. He emphasized that when considering a changeover in stern tube lubricants, it is important to check suitability of the formulation for the application and to check the compatibility with the previous lubricant. Draining – and if possible purging or manually cleaning – the system is important, he said, to remove all residues of the previous lubricant. It’s also important to change lubricant filters prior to refilling and to ensure any potential sources of external contaminants are eliminated, Gregory said.


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Maritime Reporter: RSC Bio Grows Its Team and Distribution


RSC Bio Solutions announced team expansions in several key geographic areas, as well as expanded distribution coverage. Hideki Tominga and Alhareth Shahen are joining as business development managers, Thomas TO is joining as a Technical Business Consultant, and Miranda Lo and Cherl Minot are coming on board in customer support functions. David Simpson has been promoted to lead global business development activities for the marine and offshore division.

“We are proud to be playing a leadership role in developing innovative solutions to address the accelerating challenges heavy equipment and maritime operators face today,” said Mike Guggenheimer, President and CEO of RSC Bio Solutions. “As we respond to growing demand, we are expanding our team in key regions with an extremely talented group that brings deep technical and market knowledge, which is essential to our business model.”

As part of the overall expansion effort, RSC Bio Solutions is increasing its distribution and supply chain coverage in EMEA and APAC. The business had relied on a single global marine distribution and sales partner but recently shifted its strategy to team with strong regional distributor partners, increase its own stock levels in key hubs, and dramatically advance its overall technical support capabilities direct with end users to better meet the accelerating demand.

“Over nearly four decades of experience delivering PAO and synthetic hydrocarbon related technologies, we have developed a reputation for technical and product expertise,” Guggenheimer said. “We have found a sweet spot between ensuring we have extremely high levels of technical and delivery service while maintaining a direct connection with the users of our technology. Our partners increasingly are relying on RSC Bio Solutions personnel to develop strategic roadmaps to mitigate risk and plan for a future where sustainability is no longer optional.”

Thomas Ka-Lok TO is based in Hong Kong and brings over 30 years of tribology and engineering experience, including significant depth in marine lubricant technologies with ExxonMobil, Gulf Oil Marine, Unimarine and Hyundai Oilbank. As a Technical Business Consultant, he will provide technical support to our customers in the APAC region and play a key role on both R&D projects and OEM relationships globally.

Miranda Lo is also based in Hong Kong and as an Account Executive will directly support our customers there, while assisting the RSC Bio Solutions global supply chain and customer service team with oversight of operational activity in APAC. She brings over 15 years of experience in Marine and Oil and Gas segments with responsibilities ranging from sales to customer service and supply chain management with Gulf Oil Marine and TOTAL.

Hideki Tominaga is based in Japan and will be responsible for all commercial relationships in Japan. He brings over 35 years of experience in commercial roles associated with highly technical products, including elastomers, lubricants, additives, and other specialty chemicals in industrial, automotive, and marine markets. Over 25 years of his career was with ExxonMobil and most recently Tominaga led sales and market planning for a leading marine distributor of technical chemical products.

Alhareth Shahen is based in Hamburg and will be responsible for marine and offshore business development in EMEA. Shahen has over 10 years of maritime experience with a strong technical background with a BS in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture. Most recently he worked with Wilhelmsen Ships Service, as a technical sales leader responsible for the lubricant product line.

Cherl Minott joins the team in the Charlotte headquarters location, expanding RSC Bio Solutions customer solutions capacity. She brings over 5 years of experience in customer service roles with a degree in communications.

David Simpson joined RSC Bio Solutions in early 2020, bringing extensive experience in offshore and marine segments with nearly 20 years of experience in operations, maintenance, and project management with the Royal Navy and a leading jack-up and wind installation vessel operator. In late 2020 he was promoted to Business Development Director to lead the growing Marine team and business.


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Riviera Media: Bio-lubricants and the benefits of advanced engineering


Bio-lubricants can offer more advanced lubricant technology than petroleum-derived alternatives, according to experts speaking at Riviera’s Bio-lubricants for marine vessels and auxiliary equipment: a better return on investment webinar. Read the highlights here or access the webinar via our Events listing.


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STLE: Biolubricants definitions, key applications and prospects for growth


RSC Bio’s VP of Technology, Dr. Larry Beaver, was recently interviewed by STLE on market outlook for biolubricants along with key criteria and applications for these advanced technology, more sustainable alternatives to mineral oil-based  lubricants.


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Equipment and Contracting on Pumpable Greases for Environmentally Sensitive Applications


Demand for EALs that can be sprayed or pumped long distances onto metal surfaces to reduce friction and provide corrosion protection is strong. The likelihood of softer grades of greases entering the environment are greater since most greases that are NLGI 0 or NLGI 00 grades solubilize and wash off at the point of lubrication.


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