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    Environmentally Friendly Lubricant-Development Programs at USDA

    Published: 2014

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    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) carries out a wide range of programs to help in the development and commercialization of biobased lubricants. Widespread use of bioproducts will have wide-ranging benefits to the environment, the rural economy, and the safety and well-being of the American people. The USDA’s programs can be broadly classified as technology and policy related. The technology-related programs are mainly focused on biobased product development in accordance with the demands of the lubricant market. The current lubricant market is about 10.6 × 109 gallons per year worldwide of which about 1 % is biobased. This brings a lot of market growth opportunities for biobased lubricants at the expense of petroleum-based lubricants. Because base oils account for nearly 80 % of the lubricant market, the USDA’s technology programs are mainly focused on developing robust biobased base oils that successfully compete against petroleum-based base oils. The policy aspect of the USDA’s program is intended to encourage and support biobased lubricant development efforts outside of the USDA. The USDA manages the BioPreferred program, which allows manufacturers to list their biobased products that meet the minimum biobased content, so they will be considered for purchase by Federal procurement officials. The program also awards the “USDA Certified Biobased Product” to qualified products. The policy aspect also includes the awarding of competitive grants to researchers and small businesses. The USDA is party to several cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) within the private sector. The CRADAs have allowed discoveries made in the lab to be further tested, developed, and to enter the market.


    biobased lubricants, commodity vegetable oils, CRADA, high-oleic vegetable oils, heat-bodied oils, estolides

    Author Information:

    Biresaw, Girma
    Bio-Oils Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Agricultural Research Service, United States Dept. of Agriculture, Peoria, IL

    Committee/Subcommittee: D02.12

    DOI: 10.1520/STP157520130172