API Drafts Sustainable Practice for Lubes


API Drafts Sustainable Practice for Lubes
© Roschetzky Photography

A special committee of the American Petroleum Institute is drafting a recommended practice for calculating the environmental sustainability of finished lubricants.

The Sustainability Work Group aims to finish drafting its life cycle assessment recommended practice and for API to ballot it later this summer.

On June 29 during a meeting of ASTM’s D02 Committee on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels and Lubricants, Jeffrey Harmening, senior manager for API’s Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System, said a standard gauge of sustainability is needed if industry is to make real progress on the issue.

“Harmonized methodology is the key to stimulating competition and innovation,” he said, according to a copy of his presentation.

The work group was formed in June of last year and consists of representatives from API member companies. The practice is being drafted by a subgroup from base oil and lubricant suppliers Chevron, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66 and Shell; lube marketer Valvoline; lubricant additive suppliers Vanderbilt Chemicals, Infineum, Afton Chemical and Lubrizol; rerefiner KleenPerformance; Motiva, which refines base oils from crude oil; and Novvi, which supplies base stocks derived from plant oils.

Environmental sustainability is largely measured by the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by a product or activity. Life cycle assessments estimate the level of emissions generated from the production of raw materials and other inputs used to make and package a product, by its use and on through to its disposal.

Harmening did not disclose much detail about the draft but said the work group has identified the key stages of a lubricant’s life cycle, developed a methodology for assessments and compiled a list of publicly available references that the practice can lean on.

Once the draft is completed, balloting allows API members to vote on whether to adopt it as a recommended practice or to suggest amendments. Harmening said API intends it to be available to the broader industry, including regulators and lube marketers in other regions. He added that the work group is liaising and coordinating with other industry groups working on similar initiatives, including the United States-based Independent Lubricant Manufacturing Association, the Union of the European Lubricants Industry, the Asian Lubricants Industry Association and the Australian Lubricants Association.