Lubricants, in general, are used to reduce friction between the moving parts of a machine and prevent its wear, thereby increasing the equipment life. A lubricant may also be used to dissipate heat, prevent rust and corrosion, flushing contaminants away and acting as a barrier towards impurities. In hydropower installations, heavy machinery is used and the lubricants required are termed as, hydropower lubricants. Hydropower lubricants are used in water turbines, generators, gears, chains and other hydraulic steel structures, to name a few. Hydropower lubricants should function with paramount reliability even under adverse weather conditions. Hydropower lubricants must be resistant to ageing and oxidation. In other words, hydropower lubricants must have a long life with low maintenance.
Along with being used for diverse applications, hydropower lubricants must comply with the stringent environmental laws of several governments. Hydropower lubricants used for turbines must be resistant to emulsification and should readily separate from water. Hydrolytic stability is a prominent factor in selection of a hydropower lubricant due to continuous presence of water.
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With the exploitation of hydro-electricity on a much larger scale than ever before, need for better quality product will keep on rising. In a niche market like this, innovation always plays a vital role in driving the market. Heavy hydropower lubricants, as compared to light hydropower lubricants, are expected to grow in demand. Maintenance of hydropower equipment drives this market.
Energy demand is gradually increasing worldwide. Along with the construction of new hydropower plants, efforts are being made to increase the capacity and efficiency of existing hydropower plants. This will result in a steady growth of the hydropower lubricants. With “Affordable and Clean Energy” being one of the 17 sustainable goals of United Nations which aims towards supplying green and cheap electricity to all by 2030, hydropower will play a vital role in achieving it. Hence, boosting the hydropower lubricants market.
The cost of hydropower lubricants, especially biodegradable hydropower lubricants, is comparatively higher than other mineral based oils. However, accidental discharge of biodegradable hydropower lubricants into the water body would result in far less consequential loss when compared to a mineral or synthetic lubricant discharge. Also, a switch from traditional mineral based oils to biodegradable hydropower lubricants would cost much lower than changing the complete system. Still, the fact cannot be overlooked that any contact between biodegradable hydropower lubricants and water will accelerate the rate of oxidation of the hydropower lubricants. This would result in a frequent replacement of the biodegradable hydropower lubricants.
Out of all mineral oils, paraffinic oils are widely used due to the greater resistance to oxidation, higher viscosity index and lower volatility. Synthetic hydropower lubricants are superior to mineral hydropower lubricants in almost all circumstances. However, the application of synthetic hydropower lubricants is limited due its higher cost.
Hydropower lubricants market can be segmented on the basis of base oil, degradability, performance and equipment specific applications.
On the basis of base oil, hydropower lubricants can be segmented by:
- Mineral oil
- Synthetic oil
On the basis of degradability, hydropower lubricants can be segmented into:
On the basis of performance, hydropower lubricants can be segmented as:
- Heavy duty lubricants
- Light duty lubricants
On the basis of equipment specific applications, hydropower lubricants can be classified into:
- Hydraulic fluids
- Lubricants for generator bearings
- Gear oils
- Turbine oils
- Wire ropes lubricants
- Lubricating greases
Out of all the renewable energy generated worldwide, hydropower comprises of around 70% of the electricity generated. Regions like Asia Pacific, North America followed by Europe are leading in electricity generation from hydropower plants due to large number of rivers and advanced technology used. These regions will be a key market to look out for the hydropower lubricants.
Investments in renewable energy generation in countries like China, Brazil and India, these regions will eventually grow to be a prominent market for hydropower lubricants.
List of Market Participants:
- Exxon Mobil Corporation
- PANOLIN AG
- Royal Dutch Shell plc
- Total S.A.
- Lubrication Engineers, Inc.
- Chevron Corporation
- Brewer-Hendley Oil Company
- JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation
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