Lubrication consortium

Ricardo has formed a consortium to perform research into lubricants, enabling engines of the future to emit less CO2 and become more fuel efficient.

Previous advances in engine technology have been based on separate developments by the fuels and lubricants industries. Significant improvements in engine fuel economy will require an integrated approach between automakers, tier-one equipment providers, oil companies and lubricant additive manufacturers.

The new initiative by Ricardo aims to bring together interested parties from each of these industry sectors to investigate fundamental challenges in the area in a pre-competitive manner for mutual benefit.

Particular areas of interest for the consortium include examining the implications of extreme engine downsizing, tolerance to increasing volumes of exhaust gas recirculation in combustion systems and the chemical impacts on lubricants of biofuel dilution.

The work of the consortium will be structured into a series of modules, the first focusing on the effect of downsized light-duty gasoline and diesel engine technologies on lubricant soot levels and engine wear.

Subsequent modules – to be discussed and agreed in advance by the participating members – are likely to focus on ultra-low viscosity lubricants and their potential benefits in terms of friction reduction on fuel consumption, as well as lubricant effects on emissions and aftertreatment performance in engines.

Commenting on the launch of the new consortium, Craig Goodfellow, Ricardo project director for fuels and lubricants, said: ‘To enable the next crucial steps to be made on the path to improving fuel economy and reducing the carbon emissions of road transport, it is essential that the oil, lubricant additive and automotive industries work together.’

The consortium announced this week that it has already generated interest from many leading oil companies, lubricant additive manufactures and automakers, and is currently open to applications from prospective members in advance of its first meeting of interested parties in October 2009.

Companies wishing to register an interest in participating or obtain further information should contact