Advonex Aims for Biobased Lube Production


Biochemical company Advonex International anticipates bringing its biobased feedstock to commercial scale by 2019 after receiving funds to develop a 1 metric ton per day pilot production facility in Canada.

Advonex received just over 4.2 million Canadian dollars (U.S. $3.2 million) in funding for its three-year pilot program from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, a nonprofit foundation created by the Canadian government to finance clean technology projects in the country.

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According to the project proposal on SDTCs website, Advonexs technology uses low-voltage electrolysis to produce base stock from plant-based oils. The Advonex base oil is similar in performance to synthetic base oils, and according to preliminary testing, could improve fuel economy by approximately two percent and still be cost competitive with synthetic base oils, the proposal says.

Advonex will use soybean and corn oil supplied by Minnesota Soybean Processors and Greenfield Specialty Alcohols as feedstock. Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, will assist with the projects engineering design, while Advonexs partnership with Valvoline includes incorporating the base oil into new formulations of finished lubes as well as future commercialization of products made with the renewable base oil.

Chad Joshi, CEO of Advonex, told Lube Report that the company will increase its current laboratory-scale process in the next two years and begin construction of the production facility in 2019 at an undecided location in Canada.

With this pilot program, Advonex is specifically looking into the automotive and industrial lubricants segments to supply its Entrada-BASE feedstock, said Joshi. Right now, our biggest target is the automotive industry. What we produce is a base oil, so the base oil can go into a variety of different areas, but primarily automotive and industrial lubricants is what were targeting.

Joshi mentioned that the need for better fuel economy is leading lubricant manufacturers to expect better performance from premium base oils. That trend is really pushing the envelope in terms of [API] Group III type or Group III+ performance characteristics. He added that with more environmental regulations and emissions restrictions, lubricant manufacturers are seeking out products that are much more sustainable.

Advonex International, formerly Altranex Corp., is based in Canada in Kingston, Ontario, and produces renewable hydrocarbons for lubricants, fuels, emollients, mineral oils and waxes.