Global Refrigeration Lubricants Market: Overview
Lubricants play a vital role in the reduction of friction and wear and tear of operating parts of different machines. The movement of certain mechanical parts is possible only in the presence of lubricants. This property to reduce friction is known as lubricity. A good lubricant is expected to possess properties such as high boiling point, high viscosity index, corrosion prevention, thermal stability, low freezing point, and high resistivity to oxidation. Lubricants extend the shelf-life of mechanical parts, thereby ensuring higher efficiency. They are employed to facilitate smooth operation of mechanical parts and remove residues, if any, deposited on these parts.
Refrigeration lubricants are essential for the performance and longevity of a refrigeration system. The choice of lubricant depends on the system, the refrigerant, and the type of application. A wide range of refrigeration lubricants are available in the market, with a varying range of viscosities and packaging sizes. Different types of oils are used in the formulation of refrigeration lubricants such as mineral oils, alkyl benzene oils, poly alpha olefins (PAOs), poly alkylene glycols (PAGs), and polyol ester oils (PEOs). The most commonly utilized refrigeration lubricants are hydrocarbon-based.
Use of vegetable oils and animal fats in manufacturing has been a practice for several years. Discovery of petroleum and availability of low-priced oils have led to a paradigm shift in use of raw materials in manufacturing. However, the rise in concerns related to environment is again shifting the focus toward bio-based lubricants. Over the last five years, there has been a significant rise in the number of regulations regarding protection of the environment. Bio-based lubricants are derived from natural sources such as vegetable oils and animal oils. They are biodegradable/eco-friendly in nature.
Decrease in the world’s crude oil reserves, increase in oil prices, and issues related to conservation have rebuilt the appeal of using bio-based materials. The use of fats and natural oils for non-edible purposes worldwide has become possible due to development of biodegradable, renewable, and eco-friendly industrial fluids such as bio-lubricants.
Global Refrigeration Lubricants Market: Drivers
Major factors driving the refrigeration lubricants market are rise in the worldwide need for health care and food supply and increase in the demand for refrigeration lubricants from the automotive industry. Key innovations, changing technologies, and R&D activities in refrigeration lubricants in the last decade were the result of environmental legislations imposed by Montreal and Kyoto protocols. All these factors also impact the selection of refrigeration lubricants. The trend toward use of natural refrigeration lubricants (such as CO2-based, ammonia-based, and hydrocarbon-based) has been growing over the last few years.
Global Refrigeration Lubricants Market: Key Segments
Based on end-user, the refrigeration lubricants market for refrigeration lubricants can be segmented into residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation. The transportation segment includes industries such as automotive and marine. The industrial segment comprises HVAC systems and PAC.
North America holds a major share of the global refrigeration lubricants market, due to increased demand from industrial and automotive sectors and advantageous regulatory policies in the region. The region is followed by Europe. The refrigeration lubricants market in BRICS is expected to register a high growth rate during the forecast period, due to rapid industrialization. Pricing of mineral oil, synthetic oil, and bio-based oil lubricants is a major challenge. Shipping disputes and supply uncertainties contribute significantly to variation in these prices.
Global Refrigeration Lubricants Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the refrigeration lubricants market are ExxonMobil Corporation, BASF Performance Chemicals, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Petronas Lubricants Belgium NV (Suniso), The Lubrizol Corporation (Emkarate® RL), and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.
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