CORDIS - EU research results

Development of new bio-lubricants and coatings using standoils from linseed, castor and tung oils (STANLUB)

Final Report Summary - STANLUB (Development of new bio-lubricants and coatings using standoils from linseed, castor and tung oils)

The STANLUB project comprised 2 main objectives:
- Development of 'green' fabrication processes for the synthesis of the bio-lubricants and coatings by substitution of petroleum products by vegetable oil derivatives, using as raw materials standoils from linseed, castor and tung oil;
- Development of bio-lubricants and solvent for coating formulation using the physical and chemical characteristics of vegetable oil esters and test of technical performances at industrial scale.

These two global objectives will be reached through:
- The valorisation of renewable raw material sources (standoils from linseed oil, castor oil and tung oil) for high added value applications
- The valorisation of standoils by products. The development of standoil derivatives using few chemical steps at an affordable price for SMEs (4 steps instead of 6 for traditional processes).
- The development of derivatives for bio-lubricants and coatings with improved mechanical and physico-chemical properties.

Vegetable oils have a number of inherent qualities that give them advantages over petroleum oils as the feedstock for lubricants. Because vegetable oils are derived from a renewable resource, their use avoids the upstream pollution associated with petroleum extraction and refining. It is also true that the use of biodegradable lubricants, in itself, is an improvement towards environmental friendly industry.

STANLUB aim was to fulfil the important and growing demand for bio-lubricant by proposing cost-effective lubricants. It should be recalled that lubricants are often polluting through leakage without possible treatment.

The STANLUB project would help to generalise the use of biodegradable lubricants and therefore, lower the level of hydrocarbon pollution. In addition to their physical advantages, plant-based lubricants and paints hold great potential for rural economic development. Farmers could benefit not only from increased demand for vegetable oils but also, and more significantly, from collective ownership of a company manufacturing value-added products.

The STANLUB project would help to create new jobs in the agricultural field by creating a demand for plant based products. Also, the development of bio-lubricants and bio-coatings would contribute to decrease uses oil quantities that are released in the environment. STANLUB Bio-lubricants and coating solvents will be highly biodegradable (factor 100) compared to traditional mineral lubricants and coatings.

From a worker safety perspective, plant-based lubricants are more attractive than their petroleum counterparts because of their relative low toxicity, high flash point and low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.

A mixture of three different oils (including a linseed oil) was identified as the best raw material. The process was then adapted according to the raw material and also to the specification of the partners. The results showed that the improvement of the process reduced the number of steps and the cost of process. The new lubricant bases were formulated into bio-lubricants. These biolubricants were tested in many application fields by the partners. Their performances were satisfying in metal working applications, lubrication of rail way switches and chainsaws. The 'green' solvents formulated thanks to the STANLUB by-products were also tested.

The expected results were the following:
- Identification and selection of the best raw material sources from a range of three vegetable oils. The evaluation was carried out using technical and economical criteria.
- Development of a 'green' fabrication process for the synthesis of the bio-lubricants and paints by replacing petroleum products by vegetable oil methyl esters from linseed, castor and tung standoils.
- Formulation of bio-lubricants and solvents using the physical and chemical characteristics of selected standoils derivatives and testing technical their performances at industrial scale.

The work was divided into eight workpackages:
- Workpackage 1: Indsutrial Specifications
- Workpackage 2: Raw Material Characterisation
- Workpackage 3: Standolisation Process Developpment: The main objective of this workpackage was to proceed to the oil standolisation protocols optimisation in order to reduce significantly the reaction time and the operating temperature. The goal was thus to reduce raw material production costs.
- Workpackage 4: Development Of The Standoils Transesterification And Distillation Of The Dimers / Monomers Fractions Processes. This workpackage included two steps: i) Transesterification of the standoils. The objective was to perform at ITERG the fabrication of methyl esters from standoil at lab scale and also the analysis of the derivatives obtained. The process would also be transferred to pilot scale to produce large quantities of product. ii) Distillation of the methylic esters obtained The goal was to develop the distillation process of the resulting standoils methyl esters. In this step, ITERG would perform the process at lab scale and pilot scale. The analysis on the products resulting from the distillation would be done at ITERG: monomers, dimers and monomers-dimers mixtures.
- Workpackage 5: Industrial Specifications: The objective was to upgrade monomers resulting from the 4 selected standoils in the coating field as 'reactive bio-solvent' in comparison with traditional linseed methyl esters.
- Workpackage 6: Setting-Up & Development Of Lubricants 'Dimers' Approach: The objective was to produce bio-lubricants from distilled methyl esters in order to upgrade standoils in this field in expansion.
- Workpackage 7: Industrial validation: The objectives of this work package was to validate the characteristic of the products obtained in the WP5 and WP6 by testing them according to the different application fields.
- Workpackage 8: Project Management: The objective of this work package was to ensure a good co-ordination of the work-packages and work carried out in the frame of the project, and to allow a good project progress and management. It would enable the partners to correctly follow up the progress of the project and understand the scientific, technical and economic elements of the project.