Study Calculates Emissions Cuts from Lubes


Advanced lubricants will have contributed up to 4.1 percent of the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from transport in the European Union between 2005 and 2020, according to a new study commissioned by ATIEL, the technical association representing manufacturers and marketers in the European lubricants industry reported.

By 2030, lubricants will account for as much as 5.4 percent of the reduction by transport, the organization said in a June 19 press release.

The study, conducted by engineering and environmental consultancy Ricardo, calculated direct and indirect contributions that lubricants make to CO2 emissions reductions. It defined direct contributions as those stemming from fuel economy gains enabled by lubricants. Indirect contributions were defined as those stemming from changes in engine design – such as installation of emissions control technologies or reductions in engine size – that lubricants enable.

The consultancy estimated that the resulting cost savings from direct and lube-enabled improvements to vehicle efficiency could result in average annual cost savings per vehicle reaching 37 to 67 (U.S. $42 to $76) per year for passenger cars and 720 to 1,282 per year for heavy trucks by 2020.

Our industry continues to invest significantly in further research in this area in order that we can help drive and shape its transition into a competitive low-carbon economy, ATIEL President Marco Digioia said in the news release.

For its study, Ricardo used its own modeling of impacts from engine design changes, combined with a database of European engines and vehicles.

ATIEL noted in its news release that by lowering engine friction, lubricants reduce the amount of energy required to move a vehicle, thus cutting the amount of fuel that needs to be burned, thereby leading to fewer CO2 emissions.

Ricardo estimated that compared to technology in use in 2005, lubricant advances will directly reduce CO2 emissions by an equivalent of 1.2 to 3.9 million metric tons per year by 2020. By 2030, it estimated, that number should increase by 0.9 to 2.7 t/y.

Indirect reductions in CO2 emissions should reach 17.8 to 33.4 t/y by 2020 and increase an additional 6 to 9 t/y by 2030, the firm estimated.

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