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Tribology and Lubrication Technology May 2017 : Page 33

Creating safe, environmentally friendly and high-performing lubes required cooperation between lube manufacturers, OEMs and the U.S. government. ON DEC. 19, 2013, the U.S. Environmen-tal Protection Agency’s (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP) became effec-tive stipulating that commercial vessels greater than 79 feet must use environ-mentally acceptable lubricants (EALs) in all systems that interface with the sea. VGP 2013, the first U.S. govern-ment regulation that requires the use of EALs in the field, has become a signifi-cant force in the marine lubricant in-dustry. Typical mineral oil lubricants do not meet the requirements for EALs, so new formulations are entering the mar-ket that meet both the technical and environmental performance needed. DEFINING EAL The VGP 2013 defines an EAL as being biodegradable, minimally toxic and not bioaccumulative, but it doesn’t provide technical specifications about its chemi-cal makeup. Biodegradability definitions include the amount of dissolved organic carbon the substance must remove or the amount of theoretical carbon di-oxide it must produce, or the amount of theoretical oxygen demand it must consume, plus acceptable test methods for lubricant and grease formulations. It presents similar effects and test methods for the definitions of not bioaccumulativ e and minimally toxic . VGP 2013 specifies all lubricants used in an oil-sea interface must either be EALs or compliant with an approved international eco-labeling scheme, un-less technically infeasible ( see Figure 1 ). The expression technically infeasible means either no products are approved Comparison of Required Criteria for International Eco-label Schemes Image courtesy of RSC Bio Solutions. Figure 1 | Despite different criteria in each, all international eco-labeling schemes are valid for products to be considered an EAL by the VGP 2013. (Figure courtesy of Croda.) WWW .S TLE. OR G TRIBOL OG Y & L UBRIC A TION TE CHNOL OG Y MA Y 2 017 • 33

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