EALs discussed from a US perspective

Mar 16 2018

Nikeel Idnani, Honorary Secretary of IMarEST’s UAE branch, said at a recent seminar that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) requirements in the revised vessel general permit (VGP) for environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) was a tall order.

This was when considering that the challenge for each shipowner trading in US waters will be to consider which lubricants on board vessels should be changed to EALs and when, or alternatively, to decide not to do so, as this was deemed ‘technically infeasible’.


At the seminar, presented by Drew Marine & RSC Bio Solutions, the message was clear - ensuring compliance is not enough, performance equally matters.


Idnani explained that the EPA’s VGP regulates discharges from commercial ships to protect the nation’s water from ship-borne pollutants, meaning that EALs must be used on board in any oil-to-sea interface.


Pradeep Govindan, regional vice president sales South Asia and Middle East, announced the RSC Bio Solutions and Drew Marine global marine distribution partnership, which had expanded the global availability of RSC Bio Solutions’ extensive EAL range, which are now delivered through Drew Marine’s global marine network of over 900 ports.


Dr Larry Beaver (vice president, R&D, RSC Bio Solutions, US) & Ian Nielsen (marketing manager, RSC Bio Solutions, US) presented ‘FUTERRA - An EAL with a difference’.


At the beginning, Dr Beaver explained what constituted an EAL, identifying that not all EALs were created equal.


They told the audience that meeting VGP requirements was technically feasible by using RSC Bio Solutions series of readily biodegradable lubricants, which comply with the 2013 EPA VGP, are non-sheening and are biodegradable by 60% within 28 days, thus causing negligible impact to the marine environment. 


Nielsen stressed that while regulatory compliance is important, ships also need lubricants that meet with the on board equipment’s harsh performance demands. He said that the RSC FUTERRA HF Series renewable hydrocarbon hydraulic fluids were Ecolabel certified and formulated to withstand extreme conditions and corrosion while operating in severe environments.


Typical applications include stern tubes, controllable pitch propellers, stabilisers and various deck equipment.


Nielsen explained RSC EnviroLogic GO Series readily biodegradable synthetic gear oils, which are formulated for harsh marine applications. Thrusters, controllable pitch propellers and ancillary equipment are some of the typical applications that use gear oils.


Similarly, RSC EnviroLogic Grease 0 biodegradable Lithium Complex grease is designed for multi-purpose use in harsh marine applications, including steering gear and centralised pump systems with extended distances.


He emphasised that besides regulatory drivers, sustainability of the environment, eg, voluntary ISO14001 certification, as well as creating a competitive commercial edge and reduced port fees, prompts smart ship operators to use hydraulic fluids that offer extreme durability, maximum compatibility, broadest regulatory compliance and environmental risk reduction.


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