Evaluation of New Proprietary Organic Friction Reducer Additives – Decreasing Environmental Impact in The Mobility Sector

Climate change demands urgent action towards reducing CO2 emissions. New engine lubricants, through their effect on friction losses, play a key role in reducing fuel consumption and, consequently, CO2 emissions. Besides optimizing oil viscosity, friction contributions primarily depend on friction reducer (FR) chemistry, although secondary impacts exist for detergent, dispersant, and antiwear additives.

Eni has been working for several years on the development of innovative friction reducer additives, as well as defining testing methods to evaluate the performance of a large number of molecules and select the most promising ones for engine or vehicle tests. Following this approach, a tribological method was initially established using the Mini Traction Machine (MTM). This equipment allows measurement of the friction coefficient under various operating conditions and can also replicate the Stribeck curve, encompassing all lubrication regimes, thereby qualitatively predicting the friction behaviour of a lubricant. The performance of a significant quantity of candidate additives was evaluated, both when fresh and after appropriate aging.

Among these, a highly promising metal-free additive derived from renewable sources was selected and incorporated into low-viscosity engine oils for engine and vehicle test evaluations. Standard engine tests, such as Sequence VIE and JASO M366 Fuel Economy, as well as chassis-dyno tests, were conducted, yielding results that meet API SN Plus and JASO GLV-1 limits.

The promising behaviour of friction reducer additives at different scales is the subject of this discussion aimed at providing valuable support in the roadmap towards CO2 reduction.