Environmental pollution is a serious concern in our time. The global call on the increased emphasis on facilitating control on climate change has got stakeholders channeling their concerted efforts towards research and development of environmentally friendly resources. Thanks to these efforts, terminologies such as biodegradable, eco-friendly, and renewable resources of energy have been introduced.
Lubricants and oils used in machines have for long been considered as one of the main challenges. Whereas these oils are a necessity in running our lives, researchers have been focusing on developing environmentally friendly lubrication oils. Here are five key things to know about environmentally friendly lubricants availed in our markets today.
1. They are biodegradable
Researchers primarily focus on developing lubricant oils that can biodegrade once introduced into the environment. The biodegradability of lubricant oils and other lubrication chemicals commonly used in machines is based on a chemical process that is primarily facilitated by microorganisms such as bacteria.
Upon introduction into the environment, such as being poured on the soil, strains of bacteria, in the presence of oxygen, breakdown the lubricant substances to form biodegradable biomass, water, and carbon dioxide. The controllable process releases intermediate products that are biodegradable and which can be resourcefully used for other processes.
2. They are made from biomaterial
To enhance the biodegradability of lubricant oils, manufacturers have been focusing on producing the lubricants from biological materials such as renewable products. Among the readily available products utilized to manufacture these lubricants include vegetable and plant material as well as other animal products and by-products. Using these biodegradable products as a base formation of the lubricants ensures that, upon reaching their lifetime of usage, they can biodegrade further and be safely returned into the environment.
3. Better in performance
Another advantage of utilizing the biodegradable and environmentally friendly lubricants is that they are better when it comes to performance. As compared to non-biodegradable lubricants synthetically manufactured from chemicals, biodegradable lubricants are optimized for safety and performance. When rightly formulated with vegetable oils, these lubricants can withstand high temperatures, friction, and exhibit a high viscosity index as compared to their previous alternatives.
4. Costly but worth
It is notable to say that biodegradable lubricants are a bit costly at the moment as compared to other alternatives. Given that the concept is relatively new, and that engineers are still working on improving their production, the cost of production is yet to be overly subsidized to ensure that the end product is cost-effective. The biodegradable substances used to produce the lubricant oil are supposed to be farmed and extracted.
The ongoing research on optimizing the farming of the crop is yet to come up with an optimized farming and production methodology that is suitable across different climates. However, it has been established that these oils can last for a significantly long time; approximately 10 times longer than the chemical based alternatives. This makes these biodegradable lubricants significantly cost-effective and worth to invest in.
5. Stability with contaminants
Environmentally friendly lubricants have been designed to be relatively stable in the presence of contaminants, including other oils and water. These lubricants do not form emulsions, which are sometimes hard to separate from water. From an environmental perspective, this is a great advantage as it implies that any contamination cannot lead to further adverse environmental impacts such as the growth of bacteria, development of bad smells, and corrosion of surfaces. Their chemical stability is also a relative advantage when used in mechanically moving parts as they are guaranteed to last for a relatively long time without the need for replacement.
Research and development into the concept of environmentally friendly lubricants is still ongoing and is bound to have a major boost on the global call for environmental awareness. These lubricants have attracted huge interest among numerous environmental stakeholders, including government agencies and energy-producing corporations. If successful, the concept may be borrowed and used to develop other biodegradable chemical substances as alternatives to the existing fossil-based fuels that have caused major environmental outcries. The huge benefits that they pose to the environment and convenience caused to users, are bound to make the lubricants a major hit in the future.