A research group of the University
of Huelva (UHU) has proven with a lab trial the efficiency of high-oleic
sunflower oil to get industrial lubricants that are more environmentally friendly
and with similar characteristics than the traditional ones.
This work, published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal and
titled Viscosity modification of high-oleic sunflower oil with polymeric additives
for the design of new biolubricant formulations, reveals that these the vegetal
oils components are a clear alternative as a base for lubricants, due to their
high biodegradability and low volatility.
The project of this university, based in turn on a project of excellence of
the Junta de Andalucía, led by Críspulo Gallegos, and another
one from the Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry in collaboration with different
industries and public institutions, has revealed that high-oleic oil mixed with
compounds such as ethylene vinyl-acetate copolymer may have a similar performance
to that of the mineral lubricants used nowadays.
'We have carried out a study that allows us, for different concentrations of
polymers on high oleic component, to get oils with completely different characteristics',
said the Huelva-based team research manager. Thus they have gone more deeply
into the characterization of different physical-chemical parameters with a special
meaning for the development of lubricants. ‘We can use the obtained oils
for different applications: four-stroke engines, gears, ball bearings, etc.
depending on the viscosity of lubricants and the proportion of high oleic component',
Now, the researchers of the University of Huelva are trying to optimise the
proportion of polymers (the maximum allowed is 5%) in sunflower oil for the
final product to be considered as ecological.