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F+L Week 2018: Focus on China

China has become one of the world’s major fuel and lubricant producers and consumers. However, in this ever-changing and complex market, it can be extremely difficult staying abreast of industry changes or predicting what the future may hold. For any business with ambitions either in Asia or globally, it is imperative to have a well-defined strategy for China. This year’s F+L Week Conference, an annual industry event that has been organized by Hong Kong-based publisher F&L Asia Ltd. for the last 23 years, has a special focus on China to address the insatiable desire to understand this very important market of more than 1.4 billion consumers. This industry-leading event will be held from 6-9 March 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Macao, Cotai Strip.

China is developing a new domestic heavy-duty lubricant specification which is scheduled for national release in 2019.  Engine tests development is currently in progress, with the establishment of matrix tests and pass/fail criteria slated to begin in 2018.  Yang Guofeng, Deputy Director of Lubricants Evaluation Center at PetroChina Lanzhou Lubricating Oil R&D Institute, will outline progress in the development of diesel engine oils specification to an international audience on March 8.

Yang is one of the key members of the China D1 Engine Oil Specification Development Working Group and has notable research in fields such as lubricating oil performance evaluation and lubricant technical support. He is responsible for the establishment of more than 10 standards and has published more than 10 papers.

Increasingly stringent emission legislations around the world continues to elevate the importance of fuel economy (FE), such that automobile manufacturers are placing significant focus on fuel economy. A variety of FE test methods exist for individual OEM hardware; however, a notable development is the introduction of China’s first fuel economy test, developed in cooperation between Chinese automaker CHANGAN, ISP China and ISP Germany.  ISP has been asked to develop a fuel economy bench test to demonstrate the fuel economy effect of lubricants in a CHANGAN 1.6 l GDI gasoline engine.

Dr. Sunyu Tong from ISP will present the new CHANGAN FE Test Method, which evaluates the fuel economy effects of different engine lubricant formulations in variable engine operating conditions, for the first time on the world stage. He is co-author of this paper, together with Yuan Wen of Changan Automotive Co. Ltd.

Intense competition and low-profit margins in Chinese gasoline and diesel fuel markets have forced state-owned oil companies (such as CNPC, Sinopec and CNOOC) and independent refineries to develop base oil production capacity. The companies view this change as critical to ongoing profitability and part of a long-term growth strategy. This has resulted in enormous new production capacity over the last two years totaling almost 1.1 million tonnes.

Wang Dong, Senior Engineer and Director of Base Oil Research at PetroChina Dalian Lube R&D Institute, will present a Chinese base oil update at F+L Week 2018.  Dong’s paper is entitled “Chinese Base Oil Market and Quality Analysis” and will focus on Chinese base oil output and import volumes in recent years. The PetroChina representative is very familiar with the quality of base oils in China and the Asia-Pacific market. Wang, who graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Dalian University of Technology in 2005, has 12 years of experience in the field of base oil research.

The presentation will place significant emphasis on base oil quality analysis of booming independent refineries, including an analysis of quality differences and stability, and a proposed direction for independent base oil refineries to improve their quality. Dong will also share with attendees the current situation and  PetroChina’s “Two Resources” base oil strategy.

China is the biggest market for metalworking fluids in the world.  Demand for metalworking lubricants in China is huge and increasing at an annual rate of 7%-20%. However, recent changes within the Chinese manufacturing industry have increased the importance of lubrication and created significant future challenges for the development of metalworking fluids.

Professor Zhang Chenhui, Associate Professor at the State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, will address these impending challenges and opportunities for the Chinese metalworking industry in a plenary presentation entitled “Lubricant Requirements of the Metalworking Industry in China.” Zhang’s presentation will be held on March 7 in front of an audience of experts from the global fuels and lubricants community.

The implementation of the “Made in China 2025” plan, an initiative to comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry, will propel Chinese industry towards the direction of high end, smart, green, energy saving, sustainable development, which puts forward higher requirements for efficiency, accuracy and surface quality in metalworking. Professor Zhang will discuss the impacts of these and other relevant industry changes that are affecting formulation development and maintenance of metalworking fluids.

Professor Zhang boasts an impressive academic career since receiving his Ph.D. in 2004 from Tsinghua University. He has been a winner of China’s National Science Foundation for Outstanding Young Scholars in 2013 and has undertaken more than 10 research projects in the last 10 years, with a current research area of interest in water-based lubrication and superlubricity. Zhang has published 60 SCI indexed papers on Langmuir, Soft Matter and Applied Surface Science and has about 200 citations by others. He has one national-level, three provincial and ministerial-level awards and 11 national invention patents.