Boon Ping Chia, Asia Pacific Sales Director, Infineum, on how additive technology and lubrication formulation adjustments can help resolve nitration and oxidation issues in alternative fuels.
Considering the fact that the additive market moves very fast, how prepared is Infineum to meet the challenges from competition in terms of technologies and investments?
The requirement of modern and future engines is indeed moving into technological boundaries, where the traditional lubricant technology and the current formulation science are actually struggling to meet. What this means is that there is a need to have significant next step innovation in the lubrication technology. This requires more focus on fundamental research, new componentry development as well as better understanding of the next-generation engine technology and its lubrication needs.
Infineum has recognised this challenge since several years and has stepped up investment in world-class technological resources including people as well as research and testing capabilities. The recent opening of the global centre of innovation at our headquarters in the UK cements our place to offer the best technology to the industry.
Infineum is a technology leader in the field and has a strong intention and comprehensive plan to continue to be so, moving forward in the future.
In 2016, you actively saw the development of new lubricants for the new emission legislation in China. What are the lessons do you wish to draw from there for implementing similar emission change in India?
The first and the foremost lesson from our China experience is the need to have true collaboration between the solution providers and OEMs, embarking on the next- generation development through mutually transparent development process. This allows early resolution of technical issues and allows for the best solution in a very tight timeline. This is, perhaps, even more important for India which is leap-frogging Euro 5 legislation and moving from BS IV to BS VI in an almost impossible timeline of three years.
The other important lesson is that any change in emission legislation leads to a step change in the operating requirement of engine after-treatment device. The move to BS VI also represents the biggest opportunity in decades to truly differentiate, disrupt the market and be the market leader. This was the strategy of a number of Chinese OEMs and oil blenders for China 6 and that should represent a similar opportunity for India. But to achieve this, the need for true collaboration applies.
As the world moves towards greener mobility, what are your views on alternative fuels and how do you see them impacting your business?Alternative fuels such as biofuel, CNG and LPG are going to play an ever-increasing important role in global reduction of emission. The use of alternative fuels in internal combustion engines does pose certain challenges to the durability as well as operation of an engine. For example, biofuel can cause fuel dilution and corrosion in the engine and CNG/LPG burns hotter, causes nitration and oxidation issues.
The good news is that these issues can be resolved or alleviated by use of additive technology and lubrication formulation adjustments. So, the use of alternative fuels offers significant differentiation opportunities for Infineum, which already has vast experience in formulating additive technologies for alternative fuels.
This interview has been published in Autocar Professional's March 1 issue