Preparing to meet the market’s needs
Jean-Philippe Roman, Technical Director, Total Lubmarine, discussed the challenges of responding to the introduction of the IMO Global Sulphur Cap, changes to the lubricant supplier’s cylinder oil and trunk piston engine oil portfolios, and expected changes to the composition of fuels in the market in a recent interview with The Motorship.
Preparing for the challenges of January 2020
Total Lubmarine had undertaken extensive modelling work to anticipate future demand for its products in good time ahead of the introduction of the IMO Global Sulphur Cap, which had allowed it to derive a requirements profile and forecast demand.
Total Lubmarine had drawn on this modelling in order to ensure that supply chain logistics did not affect the supply of lubrication oils in all the major hubs. “We have stated that our lubricants will be available in all the major hubs in Q4,” Roman said.
The company has also been testing its new cylinder oil with a range of new and existing fuels, and also testing its current cylinder oil products with some of the new fuels which will be available on the market.
Looking ahead at January 2020, Roman struck an optimistic note. “It won’t be as bad as the pessimists fear. Ship operators are ready to follow engine manufacturers recommendations, and in particular to segregate fuels. We know that there may be some variation in viscosity in fuel batches, but crews are familiar with the need to treat fuels accordingly.”
Roman noted that Total Lubmarine had recently completed a series of 11 meetings in shipping hubs around the world, meeting more than 1000 market representatives from across the spectrum. One of the recurring themes in the meeting was the need for shipowners to select the correct cylinder oil following the introduction of the global sulphur cap in January 2020.
“While the majority of vessels will operate on VLSFO or 0.1% sulphur fuel, some fitted with scrubbers will continue to operate on HSFO. Meanwhile, we expect to see a steady increase in the proportion of vessels operating on LNG,” Roman said.
A wide cylinder oil range
Total Lubmarine was extending its cylinder oil portfolio to meet the requirements of this multi-fuel world. Its low base number (BN) products, including, the company’s new BN40 cylinder oil. “We expect this to be the most standard product for engine manufacturers,” Roman said.
The new BN25 cylinder oil product is aimed at customers operating on 0.1% sulphur distillate fuels but was formulated with dual-fuel two-stroke engine requirements in mind.
Low BN lubricants may not be appropriate for all vessels operating on very low sulphur fuels, as the lubricating requirements of vessels can vary according to type of engine, trading pattern and engine conditions.
For ship operators who require greater detergency in the lubricant without excess basicity, Total Lubmarine has a premium BN 57 product, Talusia Universal.
Some customers will have even higher demands for detergency, whether that is for dual-fuel engines that combine very low sulphur fuels with LNG, or for vessels that will operate scrubbers when operating in ECA areas, for example.
Total Lubmarine’s Talusia Optima product is particularly attractive because, it is a unique product in the market providing high basicity with low-ash chemistry, meaning less deposit formation.
Existing high BN products, designed for use by customers operating vessels fitted with scrubbers after January 2020, such as Talusia Universal 100 and Talusia HR 140 would continue to be offered in the market. “We don’t arbitrarily withdraw lubricant products, but instead wait until demand from the market shifts to newer products naturally,” Roman said.
Low ash trunk piston engine oil
Moving to the specific demands of the four-stroke market, Roman noted that Total Lubmarine intended to introduce a new type of additive to the BN15-50 trunk piston engine oil range for the four-stroke market in 2020.
This allows Total Lubmarine to utilise a common additive package that can be used across the range fuel oils post 2020, replacing the different additives currently used in trunk piston oils for distillate and residual fuels.
The change is being undertaken in response to the expected reduction in the volume of residual fuels. While the name of the product has not yet been finalised but is likely to follow Total Lubmarine’s existing Disola or Aurelia product brands.
While Japanese manufacturers have reacted positively about the use of BN10-20 products with 0.1-0.5% fuels, the response from some of the larger European four-stroke engine designers was yet to be finalised, Roman noted.
For the minority of four-stroke engines that are expected to continue to run high sulphur fuel oil in conjunction with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), Total Lubmarine will offer BN30-50 trunk piston engine oils.
Jean-Philippe Roman also noted that Total Lubmarine had an LNG lube oil range, Aurelia LNG, that is specifically formulated for pure LNG engines, which have been slowly gained a position in the onshore energy market, for example. “We are the only lube oil supplier to have received SAE 40 and SAE 50 approval,” Roman noted.
Fuel Economy (FE) trunk piston engine oil
Total Lubmarine is continuing to innovate in the four-stroke trunk piston oil market.
“We fully expect the IMO to introduce new recommendations tightening greenhouse gas emission standards after 2020,” Roman said.
Roman cited a presentation by a colleague, Catherine Amblard, who presented a paper at the 2019 CIMAC Congress in Vancouver. Amblard presented the results of a study into the use of a lubricant to reduce friction within a four-stroke engine, which in turn was expected to lead to improved fuel efficiency. The results for service experience would be received in early 2020 at the end of the 7,000 hour trial, Roman noted. The initial results were highly promising but needed careful validation before they could be announced.
Digitalisation of monitoring program
Total Lubmarine combines the data from its drain oil analysis service, Diagomar Plus, with the operational data recorded at the time the sample was taken to permit deeper analysis.
Total Lubmarine offers three levels of expertise, to help customers determine whether correct lubrication is being employed. The entry level service, Drain Oil Standard, provides straightforward spot analysis for customers, while Drain Oil Advanced represents an extended 6-8 month enhanced monitoring program.
The top tier service, Drain Oil Optimize, provide a long-term analysis of operating conditions and lube oil feed rates. This permits the optimisation of performance by adjusting the lube oil feed rate in response to variations in engine load.
With advances in digital services and improved access to data from newer engines, Total is continuing to invest in developing its digital offering. Our research is currently focused on a project automatizing the analysis aboard of the drain oils, but we are we are also investigating a probabilistic model based on statistical analysis of trends based on Total Lubmarine’s extensive, existing, database of drain oil samples.
However, simplicity and reliability remain Total Lubmarine’s watchwords for cylinder condition monitoring.
“It is a trade off between developing economical and straightforward services for our customers, while some of the other services depend upon our customers’ willingness to share data with us,” Roman concluded.
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