Serendipitous discovery by IUPUI researchers may lead to environmentally friendly lubricants

Seed oil components of an ornamental flower could provide a direct pathway for designing a new class of environmentally friendly lubricants. Researchers at the School of Science at IUPUI (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis) identified the compound in the seed oil of the Orychophragmus violaceus, which is produced in a manner... Read more →


Testing of the latest Nexcel active engine oil management system (earlier post) across three different engine types has a{demonstrated} the system’s potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 2 g/km. The reduction is delivered by ensuring a precise oil-engine match, helping the oil to warm up more quickly and boosting the... Read more →


A new TOTAL hydrogen filling station on Karlsruhe’s Südtangente ring-road was commissioned on Wednesday. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure approved grants of approx. €970,000 (US$1.2 million) for the hydrogen facility under its National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). This H2 filling station—the... Read more →


Researchers at Purdue University have created a new type of non-liquid lubricant—a novel graphene-zinc oxide composite—that has been shown to reduce friction and wear significantly under the extreme conditions found in various applications, from air compressors to missile systems. The new liquid-free composite is made from a slurry of graphene,... Read more →


American Refining Group (ARG) is taking a 33.3% stake in Novvi LLC, a joint venture of Amyris and Brazil-based Cosan S.A. formed in 2011 to produce renewable base oils and lubricants from Amyris’ Biofene—Amyris’s brand of a renewable, long-chain, branched hydrocarbon molecule called farnesene (trans-ß-farnesene). (Earlier post.) Both Amyris and... Read more →


BASF 2016 science competition seeks synthetic lubricant solutions for future high-efficiency vehicles

BASF has kicked off its second annual North American Science Competition. This year’s competition focuses on chemistries that can be used to develop a synthetic fluid to meet the needs of future high-performance, high-efficiency engines and transmissions. With more advanced machinery, lubricating and functional fluids represent a steadily growing industry... Read more →


Researchers at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering have found that crumpled graphene balls are an extremely promising lubricant additive. In a series of tests, a polyalphaolefin base oil with only 0.01–0.1 wt % of crumpled graphene balls outperformed a fully formulated commercial lubricant in terms of friction and wear... Read more →


Novvi LLC, a joint venture of Amyris, Inc. and Cosan S.A. Industria e Comercio, unveiled two new 100% renewable base oil—the main component of motor oils—products: a renewable polyalphaolefin (PAO) Group IV and a renewable version of its NovaSpec Group III+ base oil. The new base oil products add to... Read more →


One of the main modern antiwear lubricant additives is zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP)—widely used in automotive lubricants—which forms crucial antiwear tribofilms at sliding interfaces. However, despite its importance in prolonging machinery life and reducing energy use, the mechanisms governing its tribofilm growth are not well-understood. This limits the development of replacements... Read more →


Researchers at Purdue University have shown that adding ultra-smooth submicrometer carbon spheres to motor oil can reduce friction and wear typically seen in engines by up to 25%. The researchers also have shown how to potentially mass-produce the spheres, making them hundreds of times faster than previously possible using ultrasound... Read more →


The effect of insulating (upper right) and electrically conductive (lower right) lubricants. The insulating lubricant (yellow coating) can cause electrical discharges (red lightning bolts), which can damage the bearing’s raceways. If the lubricant is conductive (green coating), no electrical discharges occur. Source: Bosch. Click to enlarge. A joint research project,... Read more →


DOE awards $17M to FY 2014 SBIR Phase II projects; includes Si/graphene anodes, motor windings, exhaust treatments

The US DOE recently awarded $17 million to 17 FY 2014 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II projects to further develop Phase I projects and to produce a prototype or equivalent within two years. The selected 17 awards represent the best of nearly 1,000 ideas submitted for the FY... Read more →


Comparison plot showing mass fractions (Fm) of chemically characterized components of lubricating oils and POA. Credit: ACS, Worton et al. Click to enlarge. Findings from a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that lubricating oil is the dominant source of primary organic... Read more →


Shell announced the production of the first clear base oil—the main component of motor oils—made from natural gas using its gas-to-liquids (GTL) PurePlus Technology. Shell PurePlus Technology is now being used to create motor oils for motorists in the United States. Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Full Synthetic motor... Read more →


The 400 hp DIG-T R race engine. Click to enlarge. Nissan unveiled a 400 hp (298 kW) 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine weighing only 40 kg (88 lbs) as the companion internal combustion engine for its electric ZEOD RC which will debut at Le Mans this year. (Earlier post.) At... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $49.4 million to projects to to accelerate research and development of new vehicle technologies. The new program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000991) (earlier post), was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the Washington Auto Show. The funding opportunity will contains a total of... Read more →


DOE issues $10M incubator FOA for batteries, power electronics, engines, materials, fuels and lubricants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) issued an Incubator Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOAs) for a total of approximately $10 million. (DE-FOA-0000988) EERE is focused on achieving well‐defined mid‐to‐long term clean energy goals for the US, and in that... Read more →


Oak Ridge-GM prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil delivers 2% fuel economy improvement over 5W-30

A team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Motors, led by ORNL researcher Dr. Jun Qu, has developed a new group of ionic liquids as lubricant additives that could help improve the energy efficiency of cars and trucks. Prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil demonstrated a 2% improved fuel... Read more →


DOE awards $45M to 38 advanced transportation technology projects; $3M from the Army

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award more than $45 million to 38 new projects that accelerate the research and development of advanced vehicle technologies. Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between the Energy Department and the Department of the Army, the Army is contributing an additional $3... Read more →


The Common Module Family represents a new approach to engineering for the Renault/Nissan Alliance. Click to enlarge. The Renault/Nissan Alliance announced its Common Module Family (CMF) engineering architecture. CMF is not a platform; it can involve several platforms. A platform is a horizontal segmentation; a CMF is a cross-sector concept.... Read more →


DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power... Read more →


USDA to award $25M for R&D for next-generation biofuels

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award some $25 million to four projects to research and development of next-generation renewable energy and high-value biobased products—such as biofuels—from a variety of biomass sources. The projects are funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the Biomass Research... Read more →


US DOE awards more than $175M to 40 projects for advanced vehicle research and development

The US Department of Energy will award more than $175 million over the next three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of a range of advanced vehicle technologies. The funding will support 40 projects across 15 states and will help improve the fuel efficiency of next generation... Read more →


New microwave-based pyrolysis process for recycling waste automotive engine oil to fuels

Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) have developed a new high-yield process for recycling waste crankcase oil into gasoline-like fuel based on microwave pyrolysis—i.e., using microwave energy as the heat source. The recovered pyrolysis oils contain substantial concentrations of paraffinic hydrocarbons with low sulphur and oxygen content, and a... Read more →


The NextGen line of oils, with 50% recycled oil, will include conventional, synthetic blend and high mileage offerings. Click to enlarge. Valvoline, a leading independent marketer of motor oil, has introduced its NextGen line of motor oils, featuring the inclusion of 50% recycled base oil. There have been earlier, generally... Read more →


ORNL, Da Vinci Sign Licensing Agreement For Oil-Dilution Diagnostic Technology to Optimize Advanced Combustion Engines

UT-Battelle has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) technology for analyzing automotive engine oil to Da Vinci Emissions Services, Ltd., a Texas firm that specializes in a broad suite of combustion engine lubrication and emissions testing services and equipment. UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy. The licensed... Read more →


Ricardo Launches Consortium to Evaluate Lubricant Challenges of Future Low Carbon Engine Technologies

Ricardo has launched a new consortium to evaluate the lubricant innovations required to enable implementation of many very promising low-friction and high-efficiency engine technologies and increasing use of biofuels. While previous advances in engine technology have been based on separate and parallel developments by the fuels and lubricants industries, it... Read more →


Argonne and Three Area Universities Form Illinois Center for Advanced Tribology

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Northwestern University to form the Illinois Center for Advanced Tribology (ICAT), which will develop solutions to technical issues related to transportation, health and... Read more →


Study: Lube Oil is an Important Source of Toxic Particle Emissions, Even in Cleaner Burning Engines

Most research investigating diesel-fueled vehicles as important sources of air pollution that can increase the risk of asthma, bronchitis, and other health problems has focused on diesel soot, rather than emissions produced by lubrication oil. However, lubrication oil appears to be an important yet little-recognized source of toxic particle emissions... Read more →


Nano-Boric Acid Improves Motor Oil Lubricity; Could Decrease Fuel Consumption 4-5%

The crystalline structure of boric acid. Boron atoms are shown as blue spheres, oxygen as pink, and hydrogen as brown. Molecular forces that bind the layers in the lattice enable them to slide over one another with very low friction. Click to enlarge. Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s... Read more →


Delphi Introduces New Type of Diesel Engine Oil Condition Sensor

New Delphi oil sensor. Delphi has introduced a new type of diesel engine oil condition sensor, designed to help increase engine reliability, reduce warranty issues and bring further cost reductions for vehicle operators. The new system is now available for integration with vehicle development programs. Current production technologies measure the... Read more →


New Process for Waste Plastic to Lube Oil Conversion

Researchers at Chevron and the University of Kentucky have developed a new process for converting waste plastic into lubricating oil for engines. This is potentially environmentally important from two perspectives. First, a more stable synthetic oil (an oil with high paraffinicity and, therefore, high Viscosity Index (VI, signifying high stability... Read more →