Sustainable, Reliable, Dependable
High Oleic Soybean Oil Adds Value in Industrial Lubricants
The Garmier family, who owns and operates Renewable Lubricants, Inc., based in Hartville, Ohio, knows their stuff when it comes to soybeans. Not only does high oleic soybean oil serve as the base for many of their company’s proprietary lubricants and oils, but they also grow the crop on their family farm.
Starting with Soybeans
According to Renewable Lubricants Vice President Ben Garmier, the son of Executive Vice President and CEO Bill Garmier and President Jackie Garmier, soybeans and soybean oil play a major role in their family business. In fact, the company was one of the first to obtain and use soybean oil in their products when they started in 1992.
“We’ve been there since soybeans first started being used for this purpose. Today, 80% to 90% of our products use soybean oil,” Ben says.
Originally, the company mission was to produce industrial solutions that moved away from using foreign oil. That objective shifted in the late 1990s as demand increased for environmentally friendly lubricants.
Today, the Renewable Lubricants product portfolio has expanded to over 250 biobased products, including hydraulic fluids, metalworking lubricants, fuel conditioners, penetrating lubricants, industrial and gear oils and even food-grade oils. Originally, the company used refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) soybean oil for their products, which didn’t contain the oxidative stability they were looking for and didn’t meet other performance standards.
As high oleic soybeans emerged on the market, beginning with Pioneer brand Plenish soybeans, the Garmiers began to develop products using the resulting oil, which Bill says proved to be more stable and higher performing than the RBD oil.
Soybeans for Synthetics
Renewable Lubricants forward contracts approximately 2 million pounds of crop oils per year to supply their customers. In addition to natural esters, they purchase approximately 200 thousand pounds of synthetic base oil a year. Bill says this oil could and should be produced using high oleic soybeans. Projects are currently in the works to determine the best way to develop this oil to meet performance standards.
“We’re using synthetics now — why can’t they be soybean-based and support soybean farmers?” Bill says.
High oleic soybean oil has proven itself as a domestically produced, environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based products. Ben says high oleic soybean oil definitely has its place in the oil and lubricant marketplace, offering multiple benefits to their customers.
“The easiest thing for people to do is switch out their lubricant oil, especially if they’re not going to lose performance, which they won’t with soy-based oil,” he says. “These products bring value along with sustainability and environmental benefits. Our customers don’t want their equipment falling apart, and we don’t want that for them. These products stand up to their petroleum-based alternatives.”