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Viswa Group highlights the importance of lubricant testing for low sulphur bunker fuel

28 Aug 2020

International marine fuel specifications testing company Viswa Group in early August said it has  embarked on an ambitious project to test the demands of the newly evolving lubricants.

With the introduction of  VLSFOs in the market, lubricant and additive companies are developing new cylinder oils with new additive packages to take care of issues posed by the new fuels, it said. 

Viswa Group has observed that mere lab level tests for newly formulated lubricating oils are not enough. 

In fact, many of the established bench tests have to be modified or replaced to accommodate the new fuel characteristics, it added. 

VLSFOs have different performance characteristics and the existing bench tests cannot fully evaluate its performance.

For example, there have been reports of high levels of deposits on piston rings and grooves. This requires a solution based on more powerful dispersant additives with deposit control properties. 

New packages containing both detergents and dispersants could theoretically perform well, but this cannot be introduced into the market unless the field tests are carried out. Thus, Viswa thinks it essential to modify and improve the current bench tests in the lab. 

It may be necessary to pre-age a lubricant or add synthesized deposits or fuel to the oil to improve the correlation between the conditions in the engine and in the lab, it said.

New fuels such as bio-fuels or hydrogen based fuels are also being introduced, and again the lubricant chemistry has to be altered for these fuels. 

Considering that it takes a few years to develop a new cylinder oil product, it is important for the lube and additive manufacturing companies and equally important for testing labs to get ready to upgrade their testing processes, methods, and procedures to meet the new requirements.

Viswa Lab said it hopes to meet the testing requirements combined with the unique insight into its knowledge and experience with operating diesel engines. 

Photo credit: Viswa Group
Published: 28 August, 2020

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