SK Shipping, WinGD and Lubmarine join forces to unearth perfect match cylinder oil
Lubricants form a significant proportion of vessel operator expenditure, making the need for cost effective cylinder oils that perform well essential. This is likely to develop further as marine two-stroke cylinder oils will also have to work with future alternative gas and liquid fuels, while still providing their core lubrication, basicity (where needed) and cleaning functions to the piston running components of an engine.
To meet its future emissions goals, South Korean operator SK Shipping chose the dual-fuel X-DF engine manufactured under license for WinGD by Korean specialist HSD for SK Audace – the first vessel fitted with the dual-fuel X-DF engine – when it was built in 2017.
The switch to LNG to reduce CO2 emissions, combined with the advanced X-DF engine capability operating a low-pressure Otto-Cycle combustion system, further reduces NOx emissions without the need for additional emission reduction technologies to achieve Tier III compliance.
To increase environmental performance and help drive further cost savings, SK Shipping required a superior cylinder oil to keep the engine and piston running components free from excess deposit build up to give a high level of engine protection and optimise engine performance, while aiming to reduce cylinder oil feed rates to significantly lower and sustainably safe levels.
Cylinder oils, while burning LNG as fuel (ie. in gas mode), undergo significantly more thermal stress than in liquid fuel mode. Working closely with engineers from SK Shipping and WinGD, Lubmarine trialled its Talusia Universal cylinder oil on the SK Audace for over 4,000 hours while operating mostly on LNG.
Lubmarine ran two separate liquid fuel trials including 2,000 hours on ULSFO and 2,000 hours on VLSFO, both on current WinGD X Generation engines, making it one of the most tested cylinder oils currently available on the market.
“What struck us was the level to which Lubmarine wanted to test. They wanted it to be rigorous. We ran three full validations – one on gas and two on different liquid fuels. It’s certainly one of the most tested-on lubricants we have seen,” says Frank Venter, WinGD’s project engineer for tribology fuels and lubricants.
Talusia Universal is, as a result, fully validated and approved for unrestricted use on all these fuel grades. Crucially during the LNG trial, the SK Audace operated in a variety of sea and ambient conditions with the engines running almost 24/7. Trials onboard the vessel used two WinGD X-DF engines, allowing for simultaneous, direct comparison between Talusia Universal and another lubricant. Vessel inspections at port and drain-oil analysis samples from the sea trials, were then sent to Lubmarine’s laboratory for analysis and interpretation. Findings were shared with all partners to help inform decisions and next steps.
By the end of the SK Audace trial, the engine using Talusia Universal was able to operate at a feed rate 20% lower than the second engine running with an alternative lubricant, and with improved cleanliness levels. Talusia Universal showed significantly improved piston and component running performance as a result of greatly reduced, and in places negligible, carbon deposits found on engine components, including the piston and piston rings.
To date, Talusia Universal has proven a commercially viable option and is currently one of just two cylinder lubricants on the market to have passed WinGD’s gas mode validation while using LNG as a marine fuel. Talusia Universal is ‘DF’ dual-fuel validated among other products. SK Shipping is now supplying all of its X-DF engine carriers with Talusia Universal from Lubmarine.