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A shipping company with a registered base in Scotland is looking for new approaches to maintaining the performance of lubricant oils. Technology is sought that will improve the lifetime of the oil by monitoring and maintaining the characteristics of the oil. The Scottish company is looking for partnerships via a commercial agreement with technical assistance or a technical cooperation agreement. The company is especially interested in technologies that are near to market.
A leading shipping company with a registered base in Scotland is looking for technology solutions that can be applied to their cargo and passenger ships that travel in all of the worlds oceans. The company is actively involved with open innovation and is currently involved with several international projects.
As a shipping company the company is a heavy user of high grade lubricating oils. These lubricants typically have a high pH number, commonly referred to as high basicity, which is measured as the total base number or TBN. Typically, half of the lubricating oil is replaced with fresh oil when the TBN falls below some critical level to avoid corrosion by the acidic combustion by-products associated with high sulphur fuels.
Replacing and disposing of this used oil is costly, and so the company is seeking novel methods to monitor and restore the TBN continuously until some other life-limiting factor triggers the need for changing the lubricating oil. At a minimum, they are seeking a 20% extension in service life for the lubricating oil.
The client is looking to partner with companies that have a solution or a potential solution that is near to market. The company is willing to consider technology from other end-application sectors that is capable of addressing the problem set out here. The client is flexible in the approach to required development. Some budget may be made available for development and this could include being actively involved in the development of a solution, technical overview of the end application and provision of testing facilities.
The company is interested in more cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions to maximising lubrication oil service life while maintaining excellent lubrication and corrosion protection to engine components.
High grade lubricating oils have a higher basicity which is measured as the total base number or TBN. Marine lubricating oils are formulated with high TBN levels corresponding to the amount of sulfur in the fuel oil. A high TBN aids in neutralising acids that can corrode and damage engine parts. The clients ideal solution would provide continuous, on-line monitoring of TBN as well as having the capability of restoring TBN as needed without reducing the other functional properties of the lubricating oil.
There are two cases. In the ideal case, TBN would be continuously monitored on-line and automatically controlled. This could be done in conjunction with on-line measurement and control of other critical lubrication oil properties. In contrast with existing solutions, the ideal solution should not require the replacement of a significant portion of the used oil, but would rather restore TBN without significantly impacting the lubrication oil's viscosity.
The company would also consider off-line analysis and control schemes that would be simple to use on board, including manual lubrication oil sampling, TBN measurement, and addition of TBN additives or some means of restoring TBN. A less favorable approach would entail sending oil samples to a centralized in-house laboratory for TBN analysis.
Any solution would need to be consistent with the practical space limitations for installation in existing vessels, and would not require specialized skills or extensive training of operating personnel.
• Technical Viability-- Solutions proposed must be based on sound scientific principles and have laboratory or pilot scale data that demonstrate efficacy.
• Scale up Potential—Solutions proposed must have a clear pathway to be application on commercial ships. Solutions already practiced in marine markets have higher value. The ideal partner would have expertise in lubrication oil formulation chemistry and physical properties, and would be able to lead the design and installation of full-scale systems.
• Costs—solutions would need to provide reasonable return on investment, consistent with the anticipated annual savings of 40,000 Euros per vessel.
• Ownership—Solutions covered by patents have higher value. At a minimum, proposed solutions must not be prohibited by other patents in the field.
Solutions will not be considered if:
• Installation and maintenance costs are prohibitive for broad application
• Proposals lack sufficient supporting laboratory or pilot scale data
• Solutions don't adhere to global maritime environmental or safety regulations
• Solutions would void guarantees from engine suppliers. Approval may be needed.
A partner is sought that can provide a way to monitor the basicity of lubricating oils and have some means of restoring the basicity. The partner must be able to demonstrate laboratory or pilot scale data and be able to show a clear pathway to application on commercial ships.
The client is flexible in the amount of technical involvement in the type of partnership considered. Where some development is required for the specific application considered here, the product could be developed jointly or there could be some other commercial agreement for development with technical assistance.