Chevron meeting the challenge of 2020 engine lubrication

Chevron meeting the challenge of 2020 engine lubrication

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 16 November 2018


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So far most of the discussion around meeting the 2020 global sulphur cap has centred around the choices available to ship operators by way of compliant fuels including alternatives to oil such as LNG or Methanol or use of exhaust gas cleaning technology with heavy fuel oil.

All the choices carry a large degree of risk. Fitting a scrubber may allow operation with low cost HFO but there is a capital outlay and the uncertainty of what regulators may do in the future to restrict scrubber use. Installing a dual-fuel engine in newbuildings or converting engines in existing vessels will allow operation on LNG or distillate fuels but again there is a large capital outlay and with LNG there are new operational procedures for crew to be trained on. Running on distillate fuels or new compliant fuels means higher bunker bills and, if recent revelations are anything to go on, lower daily hire rates for time chartered ships compared to scrubber equipped vessels.


One thing that owners must not overlook in implementing whatever solution is decided upon is that cylinder lubricants for two-stroke engines must still be matched to the fuel being used at any given time. Most ships’ engineers are well versed in matching lubricants to current fuels but very will have experience with the characteristics and properties of the new 2020 compliant fuels now being developed and introduced by refiners and oil majors.

Building on its long experience and current range of marine lubricants, Chevron Marine Lubricants has developed a brand-new range of cylinder lubricants compatible with virtually all available global sulphur cap 2020 compliance options. As the global shipping industry prepares for the arrival of the global sulphur cap in January 2020, the operation of ships in a multi-fuel future is a fast approaching reality. Lubricants are essential to the smooth operation and service life of propulsion machinery, but their optimal use is highly dependent on fuel sulphur content. A diversified marine fuel mix demands tailoring lubricant selection to fuel sulphur content to ensure compatibility with fuels bunkered across a fleet.

The Taro Ultra range of lubricants that were announced in September deliver the same high performance and protection expected from Chevron’s Taro engine lubricants, with the added benefit of being compatible with almost all engines, marine bunker fuels and abatement technologies. The full range of Taro Ultra products cover the needs of the vast majority of vessel owners. Products in the range are available with BNs of 25, 40, 70, 100 and 140.

At one end of the range Taro Ultra 25 is compatible with zero and low sulphur fuel, distillates and many alternative fuels including LNG. At the other end is Taro Ultra 140 which is ideal for applications using high sulphur bunker fuels that require emission abatement technology. Chevron expects that the BN40 product will be the most popular as it has been designed for fuels with the 2020 compliant 0.5% sulphur levels as well as with lower sulphur fuels for use in ECAs where 0.1% sulphur fuels are mandated. Chevron has carried out extensive field tests on vessels using both 0.1% and a 0.5% Sulphur IMO 2020 compliant fuel blend which continuously provided outstanding results.

At the other end of the range, Taro Ultra 140 will be used by vessels with scrubbers running on conventional HFO. It will also replace Taro Special HT Ultra another 140BN lubricant introduced last year to cope with the demands of the latest high efficiency engines running on high sulphur fuel at low speeds. Taro Special HT Ultra was the first 140BN cylinder lubricant OEM approved for use on its own for ultra-high corrosion environments, following extensive laboratory and on-board trials. It was purposely developed to combat the problem of cold corrosion inside the cylinder.

“A key driver for launching Taro Ultra is to ensure the product availability and the flexibility to meet the demands of the changing sulphur global landscape, recognising the need for more diverse fuel options we expect to be available both now and post-2020. This enables customers to make clear and concise choices that suit their unique operating requirements, ensuring the right products are available in the right places,” said Chia Yoo Soon, General Manager at Chevron Marine Lubricants.

As some of the alternative fuels that are being developed for the 2020 deadline are yet to be released, a programme of field testing with those fuels and fuels currently available with different engines is currently in place. “We are performing a rigorous and extensive programme of field testing with leading OEMs, demonstrating the strong performance of our lubricant offering. In addition to our trusted supply network, we are delivering the reassurance and supply security our customers need during the transition,” said Luc Verbeeke, Senior Product Development Engineer at Chevron Marine Lubricants.

The new range of Taro Ultra lubricants will be phased in throughout 2019

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