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For bio-lubricants, the marine sector holds a crucial position as lubricants face particular challenges in maritime environments. Direct contact with the environment imposes high requirements on the performance and environmental compatibility of lubricants. Especially with the enforcement of the Vessel General Permit (VGP) regulations, environmentally friendly alternatives like bio-lubricants have come into focus. 

The VGP specifies that ships operating in U.S. waters must use environmentally friendly lubricants. Although not a legal requirement, non-compliance entails high costs. To comply with the VGP requirements, lubricants must meet various criteria, including biodegradability, no bioaccumulation, and no aquatic toxicity. Therefore, synthetic esters are excellent base oils for compliant bio-lubricants. 

In addition to environmental requirements, bio-lubricants must also deliver good application-related performance depending on the application area. For lubricating greases, esters are commonly used in a viscosity range between 100 and 1,000 mm²/s and are required to offer good hydrolysis stability. 

When used on deck, UV resistance is also essential. 

Another critical application area is lubricating stern tubes. Stern tubes are part of the steering system and are possibly in direct contact with water. Therefore, the lubricant might be directly exposed to fresh or salt water as well. This fact requires lubricants to be easily emulsifiable in addition to excellent hydrolysis stability. Additionally, lubricants that cause slight swelling of the seals can better seal the tube openings against water ingress. 

With our LIGALUB L product range, we specialized in developing high-quality base oils for demanding applications. All esters in the portfolio are based on natural, renewable fatty acids and are excellent for use in bio-lubricants. Our saturated complex esters LIGALUB L 108 D (ISO VG 320) and LIGALUB L 107 D (viscosity range 500 – 550 mm²/s) are commonly used for the production of lubricating greases due to their biodegradability, good hydrolytic stability and UV resistance. Specifically for stern tube lubricants, we recommend the polyol ester LIGALUB 23 TMP (ISO VG 100) and the unsaturated complex ester LIGALUB L 109 D (ISO VG 220). Both products exhibit good hydrolytic stability as well as moderate swelling behavior.

Our product manager Nadine Flügel is available to assist you with any inquiries regarding applications in the marine sector!