Chevron Oronite has researched and developed hybrid lubricant technology for use in dual-fuel (DF) medium-speed engine applications, which is a class of engines that can switch between consumption of diesel and natural gas fuels. This technology is now being field-tested and is targeted for commercial sale in 2020. Power generation industries (e.g. ship propulsion, power plant, rail traction) are seeing significant growth in the use of DF engines due to the abundance of cost-effective natural gas and increasingly stringent emission and fuel regulations.
“For decades, Oronite has worked closely with key OEMs to develop leading additive technology to support a wide range of engine and hardware applications, which lubricant companies have relied upon to build their brands,” said Barbara Smith, vice president, Products and Technology, Chevron Oronite. “We are familiar with the unique challenges found in both reciprocating, natural gas-fueled engines and medium-speed diesel engines, where fuel sulfur levels have declined considerably in recent years. Today, we are pleased to announce a new additive framework that addresses the specific challenges of DF engines. And we look forward to working closely with our customers to develop commercial lubricant products.”
To be effective, a hybrid lubricant designed for use in a DF application must deliver a balance of critical performance attributes. Operating on a higher percentage of natural gas is desired to help reduce emissions and lower fuel costs. However, the resulting increase in combustion temperatures in today’s high-efficiency BMEP engines requires a hybrid lubricant to have strong oxidation resistance to survive in a severe environment. Conversely, when operating on a high percentage of diesel fuel, a sufficient base number (BN) is required to neutralize stronger acids to aid in reducing piston deposit formation. The appropriate level of detergency has been expertly tailored to account for engine, loading factors and fuel properties.
“The use of natural gas and liquid fuels like traditional distillate or low sulfur heavy fuel oils (HFO) in power generation applications, continues to grow worldwide to address emerging emission and fuel standards,” said Jeff Waite, global product manager, Industrial Engine Oils, Specialties and Fuels, Chevron Oronite. “Fuel flexibility is an enabler for enhanced security of supply to help support DF power generation for baseload, peaking power or grid stability services.”
OEMs report that they have programs underway to develop and promote DF platforms. And operators of these engines, which combine fuel-flexibility with high efficiency for power generation applications, are looking for new hybrid technology solutions to improve engine oil performance and efficiency.
“Field tests performed in ECA waters in engines using low-sulfur diesel and natural gas fuel, with various gas substitution rates, have demonstrated that this hybrid additive technology successfully addresses the dynamic challenges faced by engine lube oil in DF engines,” said Waite. “Oronite is committed and well-positioned to deliver optimized hybrid lubricant technology to meet the needs of the power generation Industries now and into the future.”