Soy’s Performance Consistently Delivers
Performance and environmental impacts challenge manufacturers producing petrochemical-based motor oil. Thankfully, there’s a high-performance, cleaner ingredient in town — high oleic soybean oil. Companies interested in enhancing the sustainability of their product portfolio are recognizing the benefits of high oleic soybean oil as an ingredient.
Biosynthetic Technologies, a California-based company, focuses on producing oils and lubricants for industrial uses. Biosynthetic Technologies concentrates on technology initially developed by Terry Isbell, supervisory researcher chemist, and Steven Cermak, research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The company has developed an alternative synthetic motor oil formulation derived from high oleic soybeans.
“If this motor oil gets into the environment, it readily biodegrades,” said Mark Miller, Biosynthetic Technologies CEO. “If a fish eats it, it’s nontoxic.”
Performance at any temperature
High oleic soybeans have high levels of a fatty acid known as oleic acid. When the oleic acid molecules are coupled together, they produce long-chain molecules known as estolides. Soy-derived estolides have chemical properties that naturally make them slippery and prevent them from gelling together. This makes maintaining a liquid state easier, even at much colder temperatures.
Maintaining a stable temperature in fluctuating conditions is crucial for motor oils. Motor oil must allow engines to run smoothly in subzero winters, scorching deserts and at the high-operating temperatures of any passenger car or truck engine — typically around 210 degrees Fahrenheit. High oleic soybean oil is also proven to have higher heat stability, making high oleic soybean oil well-suited for high-temperature automotive and industrial applications.
Contemporary motor oils are expected to deliver stable performance for up to 10,000 miles per oil change. However, biologically derived lubricants don’t always hold up to that standard. Some begin to break down when they encounter water or degrade at high temperatures due to a heat-driven increase in oxidation. Estolides from high oleic soybean oil can withstand this level of abuse.
“Without much effort, we could get an oxidative stability that would perform at the same level as other engine oils,” said Isbell.
Soy-derived synthetic motor oil has been put to the test and proven its worth against conventional petroleum-based motor oil.
“The engines that had our soy-based fluid in them came back absolutely pristine. The engine using conventional motor oils came back full of deposits, sludge and varnish,” said Miller.
Not to mention, Biosynthetic Technologies’ oil passed the American Petroleum Institute’s rigorous testing requirements with flying colors.
As soy-derived motor oils make more of an appearance among fleets and personal use vehicles, it’s likely only a matter of time before consumers start seeing less petroleum-based engine oils and more sustainable options. Incorporating soy-based motor oil into car maintenance not only helps vehicle life and the environment, but U.S. soybean farmers as well.