About this Research Topic
The climate crisis makes it more and more urgent to find replacements for products made from fossil-based raw materials, i.e. oil. Today we are consuming some 135 tons of oil per second! Most of it is used as fuel and it is consequently burned with enormous amounts of CO2 emissions. A small fraction of the oil, around one percent, is used as lubricants. If the use of fossil fuels is reduced there will also be a smaller supply of raw materials for the base oil industry. The use of fossil-based lubricants is also associated with environmental problems, such as water and soil pollution. Thus, there a need for the development of new “green” base fluids and additives. Vegetable oils with enhanced oxidation resistance might be a solution, but developments are still needed to reach a wider range of viscosity grades. Renewable esters might be a solution to reach the level of viscosity but still needs to control water concentration. Recyclability is also a need for the future to close the circular economy, and the use of secondary raw materials after the recycling process is necessary to give value to secondary raw materials. Quality control, filters and sensors to monitor the status of the oil will contribute to the safety and control of the health of the equipment.
Sustainable lubrication is defined here as lubricants composed of compounds that are based on renewable resources that might also be chemically transformed in esters. This includes both the base fluid and the additives. Preferably, these new lubricants should have as good, or even better performance than petroleum-based lubricants. The field of sustainable lubrication also covers the use of fully or partially recycled oils and their mixtures. They should also be competitive from a cost perspective. Such demands are very challenging since the industry has spent more than one hundred years to optimize today’s lubricants and their production, including the tribological systems they are used in.
This Research Topic is about describing the recent advances in fossil-free lubricant and tribo-system development. It is about describing new base fluids as well as fully formulated lubricants. It is about describing how the new tribological systems must be optimized for new types of lubricants. This means that materials, geometries, loads, speeds, temperatures, etc. must be newly optimized to take advantage of the new lubricants’ properties. Recent advances in using, for example, natural oils, glycerol, renewable ionic liquids, and water as base fluids should be elucidated in this Research Topic.
In this Research Topic on sustainable lubrication, we welcome submissions of all different kinds of manuscripts. We welcome descriptions of completely new materials but also reviews of green lubrications. Submissions can include case studies where green lubricants have been utilized in a specific application. Examples of sub-topics we want to cover are:
• New base fluids and their tribological performance
• New formulations of lubricants and their performance
• Ways to re-design tribological systems to optimize them to increase sustainability
• Investigations where sustainable lubrication has been studied
• Environmental or LCC investigations of candidates for new sustainable lubricants
• Case studies from all different application areas: automotive, metalworking, hydraulics, total loss, farming, and forestry, etc.
• Lubricant recycling
• Re-use of lubricants
Prof. Larsson is affiliated with Sustainalube AB, a company devoted to developing new lubricants which exceed current environmental standards. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: Lubricants, Fossil free, Tribo-optimisation, Recycling, Sustainable
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.