Forestry Forecast to Use More Biolubes

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Forestry Forecast to Use More Biolubes
Freedonia says forestry equipment manufacturers and operators are increasingly interested to use biolubricants. © Gustavo Pereira Castro

The amount of biolubricants used in the forestry industry should increase in coming years, a new study by Freedonia says, as equipment manufacturers and operators both show interest to bolster their reputations for protecting the environment.

The study is global, but Freedonia noted that the number of countries consuming significant volumes of biolubricants is small – limited to developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and the Nordic nations, which have big forestry sectors.

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The firm, which is based in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, said it expects growth in biolubricant demand to be occur mostly in those same markets.

“Demand for biolubricants is significant only in a number of developed countries,” the company said last month in a press release. “This is partially due to cost factors, but also to the lack of performance benefits offered by biolubricants. Since their benefit is purely environmental, they are most popular in total loss applications, such as chainsaw oils.”

In addition to the general increase in industry attention to protecting the environment, Freedonia said some countries have taken actions that should raise demand for forestry lubricants made from renewable resources. The U.S. government, for example, adopted rules giving procurement preference to products such as hydraulic fluids and other industrial lubes made with renewable resources. Germany, the second-largest biolubricant market, has implemented programs to convert equipment from conventional to biobased lubes, especially in off-highway vehicles used in construction and forestry.

The firm emphasized that forestry equipment can be designed or retrofitted to require bio-based lubes as opposed to conventional products. That can make a large impact in countries where the uptake for new equipment is rapid.

“Forestry companies in Germany also adopt technologies quickly, and this will be a key driver of growth through 2025,” the news release stated. “As a variety of innovative equipment – incorporating numerous advanced technologies – become available in Germany, operators will replace older machines and invest in new equipment in order to boost the efficiency of their operations and reduce their impact on the environment. Growing concerns about sustainable forestry will continue to drive interest in new technologies.”

The study about lubricants is titled “Global Demand for Biolubricants.” A separate study, also newly released, covers equipment used in forestry and forecasts that global spending on such equipment will grow 3.8% annually to $9.3 billion by 2025.

Equipment used in forestry includes felling machinery such as chainsaws and harvesters; extracting equipment such as forwarders and skidders; on-site processing units such as chippers, grinders and equipment that removes limbs; machines such as brush removers used to prepare sites; and other equipment such as loaders, mulchers bulldozers and tree planting machines.