Lubrizol whitepaper identifies VLSFO engine condition challenges
Legacy cylinder oils may not protect ship engines from the variable fuel characteristics of very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), global additive supplier The Lubrizol Corp has advised. In a new whitepaper, Lubrizol outlines the research that underpins its advice that ship owners should use lubricants specifically formulated for these challenges.
Marine bench and engine tests revealed a high degree of variability in deposit formation and combustion characteristics among VLSFO blends, even using samples acquired from a relatively small geographical area. The widespread uptake of VLSFO as IMO’s sulfur cap enters force could lead to increased incidence of engine deposits and costly damage if the lubricants selected by ship operators are not robust enough to maintain engine cleanliness.
Lubrizol’s findings appear to be supported by early reports of high sediment levels – exceeding the specifications in the ISO 8217:2017 marine fuel standard - in many test samples of 0.5% sulfur fuel taken in Houston and Singapore. Fuels with high sediment levels can lead to an accumulation of sludge in fuel storage, handling and treatment systems, which could damage ship engines.
“It is clear that some features of VLSFOs introduce variability that will require lubricants with improved deposit handling performance,” says Harriet Brice, technology manager, marine diesel engine oils, Lubrizol. “Using a more robust lubricant will help to reduce the impact to the engine of this variability.”
Marine cylinder oils for low-sulfur fuels have not had to cope with this degree of deposit formation in the past and their additive packages may not be robust enough to handle the variable fuel characteristics of VLSFO. Lubrizol has developed an additive package, balancing traditional detergents with novel dispersants, that secures engine cleanliness even when faced with these challenges.
The use of novel additive chemistries will not stop in 2020 as shipping’s fuel market continues to diversify. In particular, emerging low-carbon and carbon-neutral fuels will come with their own challenges for engine condition. Lubrizol’s deep investment in research, close ties to the marine industry and additive experience across several industrial sectors will position it to deliver the solutions that shipping needs.
About the Lubrizol Corporation
The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a market-driven global company that combines complex, specialty chemicals to optimize the quality, performance and value of customers’ products while reducing their environmental impact. It is a leader at combining market insights with chemistry and application capabilities to deliver valuable solutions to customers in the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol improves lives by acting as an essential partner in our customers’ success, delivering efficiency, reliability or wellness to their end users. Technologies include lubricant additives for engine oils, driveline and other transportation-related fluids, industrial lubricants, as well as additives for gasoline and diesel fuel. In addition, Lubrizol makes ingredients and additives for home care, personal care and skin care products and specialty materials encompassing polymer and coatings technologies, along with polymer-based pharmaceutical and medical device solutions. With headquarters in Wickliffe, Ohio, Lubrizol owns and operates manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, as well as sales and technical offices around the world. Founded in 1928, Lubrizol has approximately 8,700 employees worldwide. Revenues for 2018 were $6.8 billion.