With India looking at the second round of BS VI emission standards under the CAFE regulations, followed by the RDE norms in 2023, the role of allied players, including that of lubricant manufacturers such as Gulf Oil is going to be critical.
The engine oil is the important design parameter of an internal combustion engine and its right type, quality and quantity goes a long way in ensuring that the engine and after treatment devicesare in the pink of theirhealth and emissions are within permissible levels.
Sharing his views while speaking on the first day of the two-day ‘Meeting Emission Challenges’ virtual conclave organised by Autocar Professional, Dr YP Rao, CTO, Gulf Oil International Group, said, “Engine oils are the cost-effective way of meeting fuel economy norms.”
“With RDE norms coming in 2023, it is extremely important that the sulphated ash, phosphorous and sulphur components from the engine oil are optimised to ensure that the after-treatment devices function at close to 100% efficiency,” Dr Rao added.
The company which has worked to ensure backward compatibility of BS VI engine oils in BS IV vehicles in commercial vehicles, had carried out exhaustive field validations in different vehicle engine/vehicle platforms and operating conditions for about two years covering over 15 million kilometres, has also been able to enhance the change intervals by up to 50 percent with these new-age BS VI engine oils.
Using their global expertise, Gulf Oil says it had quickly adopted technology to local conditions and launched BS VI engines oils for commercial vehicles, passenger cars and motorcycles after thorough validation ahead of implementation of BS VI emission norms.
But going forward, the onset of RDE emissions, OBD-II compliance as well as alternate fuel blending in the form of ethanol and bio-diesel, will make it imperative for lube manufacturers to design oils that enhance fuel efficiency while offering protection to the engine as well as after-treatment systems, such as gasoline particulate filter, which will also be required in turbo-charged GDI engines.
“Gulf Oil’s Global R&D teams have been working on next-generation fuel economy oils with optimised SAPS to meet next stage of BS VI requirements,” Dr Rao added.
On the commercial vehicle side, Gulf Oil says it has already implemented 10W-30 grade of BS VI engine oil in place of 15W-40, in collaboration with Ashok Leyland, and has also successfully migrated to 80W-90 axle oils in place of 85W-140 as a step towards implementation of future fuel economy lubricants to derive cumulative fuel economy benefit from engine and transmission oils.
A big challenge, however, that the Gulf Oil CTO foresees is ensuring the availability of the right quality of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) for the smooth functioning of the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system in vehicles utilising the said technology for emission control.
“There are no country-specific regulations in place in India at present to ensure the quality of DEF in the aftermarket, while VDA and API have certification processes globally for DEF and AdBlue, which is the registered trademark of VDA,” Rao said.
Gulf Oil was one of the first companies that started marketing DEF under the AdBlue license as early as 2010. The company has two plants in India in Silvassa, and Chennai, with a combined annual production capacity of 30,000KL, alongside having contract satellite manufacturing plants in the North, South, East and West of India to take up total capacity to 60,000KL, and ensure smooth distribution across the country.
“While BIS has taken an important step of adopting ISO standards for DEF as a joint ISI-ISO standard, there is an urgent need for quality certification and after-market surveillance to ensure that the right quality of DEF is available for consumers considering the proliferation of manufacturers of DEF and very few companies including Gulf Oil have AdBlue license,” Rao concluded.