Ongoing innovation helps ensure the lubricants industry will continue to play a role as the world transitions to a more sustainable future and continue to be seen as part of the solution, the president of the United Kingdom’s lubricants trade organization told members at a meeting last month.
The United Kingdom is trying to move toward carbon neutrality, announcing the sale of vehicles running solely on internal combustion engines will end by 2030, and that the sale of hybrids will end by 2035.
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Andrew Goddard, executive chairman of Shrewsbury-based oil and lubricants manufacturer Morris Lubricants and the new president of the United Kingdom Lubricants Association, asserted during the group’s Nov. 10 annual dinner in London that demand for lubricants would continue, whether vehicles are powered by electricity or hydrogen in the future. Goddard warned that the lubricants industry faces significant challenges to its products, customers and markets in the near future but backed the sector’s record of innovation to evolve with the changing times to meet new opportunities.
UKLA members are already developing tailored lubricants for electric and hydrogen vehicles, according to the news release, and lube manufacturers have begun using more sustainable raw materials, including corn and soya.
“Regardless of the market sector, the future could well be ultra-efficient engines running on low carbon fuels that use bio-synthetic finished lubricants made from sustainable sources,” he said in a news release posted by Morris Lubricants about the speech at UKLA event. “We have always been an industry driven by change, from new automotive standards to the advent of synthetic base stocks that underpin the performance of our finished products, and latterly the move to new sustainable sources of raw materials and environmentally compliant products.”
He acknowledged that it seems that at every turn the lubricants industry is confronted by a new set of regulations and a new set of market standards, while sounding a positive note about it. “I say that is a positive step because a constantly changing environment is essential for companies, keeping us on our toes and ensuring that we remain competitive, as our own future survival relies on constant innovation,” Goddard said.
Regulation helps ensure the lubricants industry continues to meet market expectations and exceed its customers’ exacting standards, he asserted. “Even the ending of the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles will drive innovation built on better performing multipurpose oils and lubricants that are environmentally acceptable,” Goddard added.
“The next 100 years will be typified by companies that can capitalize on the fourth industrial revolution,” he said. “The nature and characteristics of our society may well change faster over the next generation than they may have over previous decades. Global economies will still need to manufacture goods, the service economy will still need to cater for people’s needs, there will still be mass transportation, international trade will still need to take place, and both people and goods will still need to get around.”
If seen as part of the sustainability solution, the lubricants sector can continue to play an important role in supporting many critical functions, Goddard said. “Our sector can enable mobility, we can support the free flow of goods across national borders, we can underpin international trade and personal transportation if, and only if, we are seen to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” he said.