“Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants” and their use in the marine environment For vessels over 79 feet built prior to this date, EALs are required where technically feasible. For new builds, ship designers and OEMs must consider compatibility with EALs and offer design changes where needed. On existing vessels, work with OEMs and lubricant suppliers to determine compatibility. 5) OEM approvals of EALs are application specific Lubricant manufacturers are now working with OEM’s on product approvals. The approvals are specific to the equipment, the application and the lubricant. For example, separate approvals for the hydraulic fluid and the gear oil in a propeller thruster should be obtained.
6) Performance still matters There is no need to compromise performance when switching to biodegradable lubricants. For greases, compare attributes of water washout, load, corrosion, adhesion, color, compatibility, base oil viscosity, sealability, bearing life, and drop point. For oils, look for seal compatibility, resistance to hydrolysis, temperature behavior, thermal stability, oxidation resistance and protection from scuffing. Discussions with a lubrication specialist can help identify the correct lubricant for the application. 7) Understand hydrolysis and how it affects ester based oils Ester based oils are essentially created by bonding
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acids and alcohols. In the presence of water and heat, esters can convert back to these two basic compounds which can lower the performance of the lubricant and affect seals, hoses, and o-rings. Not all esters are created equal and some resist hydrolysis much better than others. 8) Lubricant approval process is yet to be determined In the draft VGP, the EPA presents the standards an EAL must meet. They also discuss several European label programs that may be used to indicate EPA approval. Since the release of the draft VGP, the EPA announced they are conducting a pilot study for creating their own approval
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nOVEMBER 2012 MARINE LOG 51