ExxonMobil’s guide to choosing environmentally acceptable lubricants

Ships propeller

Concerns about the functionality of some types of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants* (EALs) have resulted in a group of marine insurers backing an EAL test programme, to be undertaken at the UK’s University of Sheffield. In light of this unease, we have developed a guide to help vessel operators select the most effective options. 

Choose optimum performance
EALs are generally developed from three base stocks: polyglycols, natural esters and synthetic esters. Those formulated with synthetic esters combine a high viscosity index, a wide operating temperature range, good lubricity, excellent corrosion protection and high oxidative stability. 

Assess the benefits
ExxonMobil’s Mobil SHC Aware™ family of EALs are based on synthetic esters. These high-performance lubricants can help enhance equipment reliability and component life, potentially reducing maintenance costs.

Ensure problem-free changeovers
Solvent flushing is required prior to using polyglycol-based EALs due to their incompatibility with other oil types. They are also incompatible with conventional seals and filters, making changeovers very costly. However, EALs based on synthetic esters generally have fewer issues, making changeovers simpler. 

Look for endorsements
Mobil SHC Aware Gear oils have been approved by thruster builders ZF, Nakashima, HHI Hyundai and KTE Nakashima Korea and seal manufacturers Kemel, BVI and Hwaseung R&A. Mobil SHC Aware Hydraulic oils have received approval from Eaton-Vickers and Denison for the ISO 32, 46 & 68 grades. Fincantieri Marine System Division, the marine equipment division of the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, has also endorsed ExxonMobil’s EALs.

For more information about ExxonMobil’s Mobil SHC Aware lubricants visit www.exxonmobil.com/en/marine/products/categories/list/environmental-marine-lubricants

*Environmentally acceptable lubricants are defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) as lubricants that are biodegradable, minimally toxic and are not bioaccumulative.