API talks about new engine oil standards development and sustainability


Lubricant sustainability

Lubricant sustainability

Lubricant sustainability – In a webinar promoted by Brazilian Petroleum Institute (IBP) Lubricants Commission, on July 12, the American Petroleum Institute (API), represented by Mr. Bill O’Ryan, Senior Manager of the Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (E.O.L.C.S), among others, brought relevant information on emerging categories and lubricant sustainability. The recent API SP classification and the PC-12 proposal were extensively detailed to the public watching on YouTube. The Sustainability of lubricants deserved a special focus, with the launch of the Technical Report API TR 1533, which is available free of charge on the API website.

Delma Quintanilha, responsible for the API office, located in Brazil, in charge of Latin America, Africa, Portugal and Spain, reinforced API’s objective of supporting the industry to work with more safety and efficiency, reliability, profitability and sustainability in all parts of the world . She recalled that among the programs that the entity developed in response to a market demand for the establishment of standards, the most relevant for the public interested in lubricants is the one that performs the certification and licensing of automotive oils, called E.O.L.C.S., which, in some countries, it already serves as an entry filter for the commercialization of automotive oil.

New categories for new technologies

Bill showed that in the range of oil categories for gasoline engines, the last one launched was API SP, in 2020, introducing seven new engine tests and limits for pre-ignition at low speeds (LSPI), fuel economy and retention of this parameter, better engine durability and protection against wear.

As for heavy engine oils, Bill commented on the automotive industry’s requirement for a new category, replacing the current CK-4 and FA-4. This project is called PC-12 (Proposed Category 12) and has as its guideline the control of air pollution in new heavy-duty engines. “The new standards, which is the first update to clean air standards for heavy duty trucks in more than 20 years, are more than 80% stronger than current standards, beginning with model year 2027,” said Bill.

Counterfeiting – A widespread industry issue

Bill O’Ryan further said that product counterfeiting exists and is a topic of concern for the automotive industry. These products, in addition to harming consumers, can compromise the performance of engines and the integrity of the industry. It is not a problem limited to a single region or country, unfortunately it is a global phenomenon and no brand is immune from this crime. Even some API trademarks have been found in the market with gross fakes. “We found a starburst for diesel engines and we don’t have starburst for diesel engines,  only for gasoline engine oils,” recalled Bill.

API works with licensed oil marketers when their products suspected of counterfeiting, providing test results and source information, samples when required and support for further investigations by the producer. If it is a company that is not licensed, the API works to withdraw the product from the market, cease using its brand and alert consumers, providing public notice.

Sustainability has become a global focus

Sustainability has become the global focus of all types of industry and it would not be different with lubricants. There is a need for the lubricants industry to have a clearly defined document capturing accepted terminology and methodology for life cycle analysis of lubricant products.

Lubricant customers are increasingly asking lubricant marketers for sustainability metrics. “Developing guidelines for calculating metrics became a critical area for API to focus on as the industry seeks to reduce and evaluate greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bill.

In June 2021, API formed a Lubricant Sustainability Working Group to define terminology and identify the best practices for life cycle assessment of lubricants and specialty products in the marketplace to promote consistency across the industry. The idea was to produce API best practices and coordinate and liaise with industry groups regarding global sustainability efforts underway with ILMA, ATIEL, UEIL, ALIA and others.

In May of this year, API published Technical Report (TR) 1533, Lubricants Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprint – Methodology and Best Practice, to promote a harmonization of concepts for the industry and helps to enhance customer confidence with product benefit claims related to sustainability. These lubricants include engine oils, transmission fluids, greases and industrial oils such as thermal fluids, hydraulic fluids and gear oils.