An Introduction to Bio-Lubricants

Today, more and more companies are opting for lubrication that considers aspects such as sustainability and environmental protection. Through this article, we will discover what a bio-lubricant is and what its main advantages are.

Table of Contents


What is a bio-lubricant?

The term bio-lubricant applies to all lubricants that biodegrade easily and are not toxic to humans or aquatic environments. They can also be called sustainable, eco-friendly or biodegradable lubricants.

What parts does it consist of?

A bio-lubricant is made up of the following parts:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Synthetic esters

What are the main functions of bio-lubricants?

Bio-lubricants or biodegradable lubricants are suitable to solve the following industrial problems:

  • Reduce mechanical energy losses
  • Reduce wear on friction parts
  • Provide protection to the parts against corrosion
  • Reduce the working temperatures of the machines
  • Increase the tightness of seals
  • Avoid spilling deposits of impurities and dirt

What are the main advantages of bio-lubricants?

These are the main advantages of ecological or sustainable lubricants:

  • They have a very high biodegradability
  • Its toxicity is much lower
  • Good lubrication properties and high performance
  • They have a high viscosity index
  • High flashpoint
  • They are a safe option for the user and for the environment
  • They help to preserve equipment for longer
  • Reduction of evaporation losses and oil consumption
  • They help to prevent the risk of environmental pollution

Find out more about bio-lubricants

Water is the medium where there are the greatest number of sources of contamination due to lubricants. All equipment that works on or near water (eg locks, power plants, etc.) is subject to risks. It is important to keep in mind that biodegradability does not affect the performance of the lubricant whatsoever. It is possible to work with high performance biodegradable lubricating oils and greases in even the moistest conditions.

Lubricating oils and greases

In the past, transformer oils created serious ecological problems: the use of certain carcinogens and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) has led to the contamination of rivers and reservoirs. The oils currently on the market no longer contain PCBs, but the risks of contamination by mineral oils are still present.

On the other hand, vegetable oils are presented as the perfect alternative. In this way, they can reach up to 100% biodegradability. They are generally not harmful to the aquatic environment and can be a bit cheaper than other options; allowing not just for sustainability, but cost savings that can be utilised elsewhere.

Ecological certificates

There are several distinctive features that can differentiate biodegradable lubricants from traditional ones. The Ecolabel certificate (also known as the European Ecolabel) was launched in 2005. This label can only be applied to biodegradable products that meet strict criteria, not only in terms of their components but also in their manufacturing process. It is one of the few hallmarks that guarantees quality and differentiates between plain biodegradable oil and a true bio-lubricant.

What are the criteria to obtain this certificate?

These are the main criteria that bio-lubricants must meet:

  • Labelling prohibited R phrases
  • Low ecotoxicity
  • A high degree of biodegradability and non-bioaccumulation
  • No additives included in the “blacklists”
  • Use of renewable raw materials
  • Technical performance adapted to the application
  • The Ecolabel label must appear on the packaging

Do you want to know more about biodegradable lubricants? Get in touch to discover KAJO’s sustainable products.

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