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dual fuel applications

an increasingly popular engine choice

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As the name suggests, dual fuel (DF) engines can operate using two different fuel sources. Chevron Oronite’s current focus is on engines that can switch between low sulfur diesel (<500 ppm) and natural gas (e.g. LNG). Since the combustion characteristics of these two fuels are quite different, the corresponding lubricant demands differ significantly as well. Oronite has developed a new additive framework that addresses the specific challenges found in these applications.

Oronite has researched and developed hybrid lubricant technology for use in dual fuel, medium speed engine applications. This technology is now being field tested and is targeted for commercial sale in early 2020. Power generation industries (e.g. ship propulsion, power plant, rail traction) are seeing significant growth in the use of dual fuel engines due to the increasing abundance of cost-effective natural gas and increasingly stringent emission and fuel regulations.

For many years we have worked closely with key original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop leading lubricant technology to support a wide range of engine and hardware applications. We’ve leveraged that experience to address the unique challenges found in both reciprocating, natural gas-fueled engines and medium speed diesel engines, where fuel sulfur levels have declined considerably in recent years. 

addressing the challenges of dual fuel engines

To be effective, a hybrid lubricant designed for use in a dual fuel application must deliver a balance of critical performance attributes. Operating on a higher percentage of natural gas is desired to help reduce emissions and lower fuel cost. However, the resulting increase in combustion temperatures, especially in today’s high efficiency break mean effective pressure (BMEP) engines, requires a hybrid lubricant to have strong oxidation resistance to survive in that severe environment. Conversely, when operating on a high percentage of diesel fuel, sufficient base number (BN) is needed to neutralize strong acids, thereby reducing piston deposit formation. The appropriate level of detergency, and its associated ash content, must be suitable for use when considering engine type, loading factors and fuel properties. 

OEMs report that they have programs underway to develop and promote dual fuel platforms. And operators of these engines, which combine fuel-flexibility with the high efficiency needed for power generation applications, are looking for new hybrid, lubricant technology solutions to protect their significant investments.

Commercial sales of Oronite products featuring this hybrid additive technology are expected in 2020 and interested customers should contact their Oronite representative for additional details.

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