The challenge to the lubrication industry is to maintain exceptional product performance, reliability and ease of retrofit whilst protecting the marine environment.
Many lubricants claim to be "environmentally friendly" or "environmentally preferable" or "food grade". However, environmental performance claims for marine lubricants are valuable only when they are backed up by robust scientific evidence.
Many lubricants used onboard vessels will be discharged into the sea and so should be tested under conditions that closely mimic this environment, not freshwater or soil environments. There must be clearly defined criteria for measuring the environmental performance of these lubricants. Therefore it is important to ask the right questions and get the right information to enable the most appropriate products to be selected.
The key evaluation characteristics to measure the marine environmental performance of lubricants are:
Marine biodegradationTest methods: OECD 306 or BODIS.
Target: More than 60% of the chemical to biodegrade in 28 days, or more than 20% in 28 days if non-bioaccumulative and non-toxic.
BioaccumulationTest methods: OECD117 or 107 taking into consideration molecular weight.
Target: Reduced potential for bioaccumulation. Either log Pow<3 in OECD 117/107 or molecular weight of chemical >700.
Marine toxicityTest methods: Acute toxicity to marine species across the food chain - algae (Skeletonema costatum - ISO 10253), copepods (Acartia tonsa - ISO 14669), fish (Scophthalmus maximus - PARCOM 1995/ OECD 203) and sediment reworker (Corophium volutator - PARCOM 1995).
Target: Low toxicity for different species in the marine food chain. Toxicity (LC50) >10mg/l.