Lubricants are used to control friction and wear of the surfaces of mechanical components. Conventional lubricants are usually obtained using petroleum-based feedstock. Nevertheless, due to growing concern over the use of petroleum-based lubricants, which have dangerous effects on the environment and in order to control the dependency on such products, high priority has been given on the development of eco-friendly alternatives to such lubricants.
Bio-lubricants also alluded to as bio-lubes are the bio-degradable and non-toxic lubricants. They are mostly produced by using raw material like sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, palm oil, and animal fats. These lubricants offer numerous advantages over the traditional petroleum-based lubricants, which includes non-toxicity, eco-friendly, and carbon neutral. Due to the high flashpoint and stability, bio-lubricants are comparatively safer to use over the petroleum-based product offerings.
Bio-lubricants have numerous applications in hydraulic fluids, greases, chainsaw oils, metalworking fluids, two-cycle engine oils, mold release agents, gear oils, and others. Bio-lubricants are used in high quantity in hydraulic fluids due to the issue related to the disposal of hydraulic fluids into the environment. They are also preferred over hydraulic lubricants in areas where pollution can have a hazardous impact on the environment. The demand for sustainable hydraulic fluids is driven by strict regulations in areas such as marine and forest ecosystems.
Increasing Regulations Worldwide to Drive the Demand:
Bio-lubricants do not cause skin irritation, which is caused by the petroleum-based lubricants. Nevertheless, these lubricants have several advantages, such as improved environmental conditions, reduction in energy usage, increased employee safety, reduction in labor cost, increased machine life, and increased production.
For example, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Presidential Executive Order #13423 approve the usage of bio-lubes. These legislations require government agencies to buy bio-lubes, instead of the traditional lubricants. This details the significance of deliberating food grade lubricants for machinery and industrial lubrication. Other environmental regulations, such as the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in well-established nations of the United States and Europe, together with the latest and upcoming R&D enterprises, are expected to aid the bio-lubricants market over the forecast period.
North America and Europe to Account for the Largest Share of the Market:
Europe and North America together accounted for the largest share of the market, owing to the high demand from countries such as the United States and Germany. The market for bio-lubricants in the United States has moved past its incipient stage and has been developing at a steady rate. This can be attributed to the chemical registration policies of the United States which have played a significant role in the greater adoption of bio-lubes.
In the marine industry, the United States Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) launched a policy of Vessel General Permit (VGP), which came into effect on December 2013. As per this policy, any vessel greater than 79 feet must use eco-friendly lubricants or environmentally acceptable lubricants* (EAL) in all oil-to-sea interfaces, thereby increasing the usage of bio-lubes. In Europe, Germany is the leading consumer of bio-based lubricants, owing to the increasing demand from forestry and agriculture, automotive, construction, and other industrial applications.
The Asia Pacific to be a High Growth Region for Bio-Lubricants Over the Coming Years:
The Asia Pacific emerged as the fastest growing consumer, owing to the presence of some of the largest automobile manufacturing companies. Countries such as Indonesia, China, and Thailand are progressively engaged in manufacturing and exporting passenger cars and other vehicles to the established countries. Inventions and investments in R&D to promote the applications of bio-lubricants are further expected to boost the regional demand over the coming years.
The increase in the global bio-lubricant demand will be assisted by the current expansion of the resilience in manufacturing and other activities, owing to the ongoing rapid industrialization and the increasing vehicle ownership rates, especially in China. Regions such as Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East will also be favored by these development trends. The Asia-Pacific region, led by China, will be the primary growth driver in these markets since the companies across the world will continue taking advantage of the comparatively low labor costs and the political stability in the region.