Funds Offered for Bio-lube Study


The Federal Railroad Administration is offering a total of $700,000 for two separate studies, one on the feasibility of using bio-based lubricants in locomotive, rolling stock and other equipment, the other on locomotive biofuels.

FRA, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, spelled out six requirements for the lubricants study in its May 13 grant announcement. First, it wants an analysis of the potential use of soy-based grease and soy-based hydraulic fluids to perform according to railroad industry standards.

Second, its seeking an analysis of the potential use of other biodegradable lubricants. Next, it wants a comparison of the health and safety of petroleum-based lubricants vs. bio-based, including an analysis of fire safety.

The fourth criterion is a comparison of the environmental impact of petroleum-based vs. bio-based lubricants, including the rate and effects of biodegradability. Fifth is a comparison of the performance of bio-based lubes vs. petroleum-based. And finally, the agency wants to see the effects of the bio-based lubes on railroad equipment components compared to petroleum-based lubes.

Deadline for grant applications is June 7. Complete information is available at

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