CEN standards for biolubricants
Standards for biolubricants are divided into a technical and a non-technical section. A short explanation about the development of the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) standards for biolubricants can be found below. The quality of biolubricants is recorded in the NEN-ISO 15380 (Netherlands Standardisation Institute -International Organisation for Standardisation) specification for hydraulic fluids. Additionally, there are various product labels that set stricter or other demands of certain biolubricants.
A working group under the European Technical Committee for Fuels and Lubricants (CEN/TC 19 /WG 33) was commissioned to harmonise the various requirements for biolubricants. This working group will develop and publish more standards for biolubricants for the European Commission.
Lead Market Initiative: A European Standard for biolubricants
As part of the Lead Market Initiative for bio-based products, the European Commission issued a standardisation mandate for biolubricants. CEN accepted on this mandate and added it to a new working group’s activities (WG33, bio-based lubricants). This operates under the responsibility of TC 19 (gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin). WG33 prepared a Technical Report (TR), in which the following minimal requirements relating to the definition of biolubricants have been included:
- Level of renewable raw materials >25% according to ASTM D-6866 (Radiocarbon Dating Analysis) or comparable CEN version.
- Biodegradability of >60% according to OECD 301 for oils and a biodegradability of >50% according to OECD 301 for lubricants.
- Toxicity: should not be labelled ‘hazardous to the environment’ according to 1999/45/EG (Dangerous Preparations Directive). Tests performed according to OECD 201/202/203: EC50/LC50/IC50>100 mg/l show the toxicity levels of the full product.
- Performance: ‘fit for purpose’.
- All lubricants bearing a European Ecolabel for Lubricants are ‘biolubricants’ by definition.
One of the main differences between this approach and that of the European Ecolabel for Lubricants is that the TR definition and requirements are geared towards the full product (mixtures) and not its individual components (pure substances).
Additionally, general requirements and methods are being developed for products made from bio-based raw materials. The differences between bio-based and biodegradability, the composition, life cycle and sustainability of bio-based products is being discussed. As part of the standardisation work of CEN, definitions and technical specifications are being developed defining biodegradability, bio-based content, life cycle assessment and other sustainability aspects.