Collaboration on cylinder lubricant validation offers greater clarity.

A recent combined effort between WinGD, SK Shipping and Total Lubmarine highlights the importance of close working partnerships and transparency as the industry moves forward towards a decarbonised future. The importance of all stakeholders working together for optimal vessel performance is especially critical as emerging fuels interface with new engine technology under a wide variety of conditions. As an essential component of reliable engine operation, the right cylinder oil is critical.

The Tribology, Fuels and Lubricants Team at WinGD works closely with multiple oil majors through a rigorous laboratory- and field-testing process to validate and approve cylinder lubricants for sustained long term safe operation. This provides clarity and peace of mind to ship owners and operators as to which cylinder oils can be employed under multiple fuel or use-case scenarios. Given the increasing flexibility of fuel choices between liquid and gaseous fuels, it is imperative that ship operators understand which cylinder oil will provide the greatest protection for their engine while being able to optimise the feed rate and achieve lower emissions and costs.

In 2020 WinGD offered their customers a first of its kind detailed list of approved cylinder lubrication oils, showing oil specific usage guidelines, and therein prioritising transparency and collaboration. This significantly supports ship operators in selecting the correct oil for their intended fuel and operational scenarios. WinGD is in a unique position to provide such detail and expertise to its customers, due to the maturity of their dual-fuel X-DF fleet, with over one million running hours, and combined with high resolution engine running data made available through WiDE (WinGD’s integrated Digital Expert).  WinGD has unparalleled knowledge and understanding of how both liquid and gaseous fuels interface with their engines and the critical dynamic that the choice of the right cylinder oil plays in achieving optimal performance. Giving ship owners transparency in their options and confidence in their choice is a priority to WinGD.

Since publishing the detailed oil usage guideline in 2020, WinGD continuously updates it with the results of further testing and validation carried out with cylinder oil developers. Today the guideline covers cylinder oil from 37 suppliers covering Base Numbers (BN) ranging from 17 to 145.

Customers can use the guideline to search for oil products to suit their intended use. The document will highlight whether the individual oil is approved for general, long-term use or further stipulations – such as a time limit or greater frequency of inspections - are required. ‘DF validated’ shows whether the oil has, in addition to completing a liquid fuel trial, passed an additional validation trial while burning gas as the predominant fuel; and to which an even higher level of confidence for gas mode usage is given.

The guideline is the result of strong collaboration with major oil companies to make usage requirements more transparent. Previously, the guidelines for each oil were only found in the industry standard No Objection Letters (NOL) issued by WinGD to oil companies, and available only upon request by a customer to an oil company directly. Now this information has been included in WinGD’s full list of approved cylinder oils.

“Given the already wide variability in existing fuels available, it is important that engine companies and oil suppliers work together to offer clarity for ship operators as to which oils can be used and how. This will become increasingly important as we embrace a decarbonised future with potentially multiple varied sources of both liquid and gaseous fuels.” says Frank Venter, WinGD Senior Development Expert at Tribology, Fuels & Lubricants.