DoD Sustainable Products Center

Biobased Grease Demonstration

Demonstration Overview

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Aviation Hazardous Minimization and Green Products Branch in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment and Department of Defense (DoD) stakeholders demonstrated bio-based multipurpose greases for use in non-tactical DoD and civilian federal agency equipment.

 

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Bio-Preferred Program has designated Bio-based multipurpose grease for Federal procurement preference; and defines Multipurpose Grease as:

 

Lubricants composed of oils thickened to a semisolid or solid consistency using soaps, polymers or other solids, or other thickeners. Lubricants that are designed for general use."

 

The BioPreferred Program established a minimum of 72% bio-based content for multipurpose grease.

 

Before DoD and Federal agencies can use bio-based multipurpose greases, their performance must be proven to meet government requirements and end user needs. The candidate multipurpose grease products were evaluated in vehicles and equipment at Military installations and civilian Federal Agency facilities. This demonstration validated biobased greases’ performance and facilitated awareness of sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based greases, and resulted in the assigning of National Stock Numbers (NSNs) for these sustainable products, thereby making them available for DoD and civilian Federal Agency procurement.

 

Technology Description

Greases are applied to vehicles and equipment during routine maintenance to lubricate components and protect them from corrosion. In many applications, greases are “total loss” lubricants since they are lost to the environment or wiped off and discarded, not recycled, or recovered. The National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) provides a standard classification of greases by consistency number, with the most used multipurpose grease being NLGI #2. Conventional greases use petroleum base oils. Biobased greases use biobased base oils, are typically biodegradable, non-toxic, and are designed for a wide range of applications. These products meet USDA BioPreferred Program minimum biobased content requirements.

 

Demonstration Products

Table 1 lists the manufacturers and the products used – all of which meet USDA’s Bio-Preferred minimum bio-based of 72% for multipurpose greases

Table 1: Biobased Grease Demonstration Products

Company

Product

Renewable Lubricants

Bio-High Temp 180 E.P. Grease NLGI #2

BioBlend Renewable Resources, LLC

BioBlend BioGrease HD NLGI #2

Plews and Edelmann

UltraLube LMX Red Grease NLGI #2

UltraLube Moly EP Grease NLGI #2

UltraLube Multi-Purpose Grease NLGI #2

 

Before any grease is used in a piece of equipment, the equipment manual grease specifications should be compared to the grease product data sheet to ensure that the grease is compatible with equipment requirements.

 

Demonstration Sites

The USAF 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron (VSCOS) provided access to USAF vehicles and equipment. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Principal Center - Recycling and Sustainable Acquisition (RSA) provided access to NASA vehicles and equipment. The biobased grease products were demonstrated in non-tactical vehicles and equipment at the following DoD installations and Federal Agency facilities:

 

  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE)
  • Patrick Air Force Base (AFB) / Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (AFS)
  • Davis Monthan AFB
  • Hill AFB
  • Joint Base Lewis – McChord (JBLM)
  • Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center (LaRC)
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC): Visitors Complex and Heavy Equipment Maintenance Facility

 

Demonstration Equipment

Demonstration equipment and grease applications are noted in Table 2.

Table 2: Demonstration Equipment and Applications

Equipment

Grease Application

Heavy Equipment              

Caterpillar IT28G Wheel Loader

All grease points: Fork slides, pivot points. cylinder ends

John Deere 444H Loader

Boom, bucket, drivetrain

John Deere 410E Backhoe

All bearing/pivot points on chassis, bucket, and scoop

John Deere 410J Backhoe

Boom, bucket, drivetrain

Caterpillar 938G Forklift

Mast/Shift Cylinder

John Deere 670B Road Grader

All pivot points, hydraulic cylinder mounts, wheel bearings

Hyster 155XL Forklift

Mast/shift cylinder, steering and chassis grease points

Hyster H155XL Forklift

Mast/Shift Cylinder

Hyster 4K Forklift

Mast/shift cylinder, steering and chassis grease points

Hyster H60FTM Forklift

Steering, front fork slide, and front tilt cylinder ends

Hyster Forklift

All grease lubrication points identified in United States Air Force (USAF) Technical Order (TO) 35M2-2-266-1 including the fork slides, tilt cylinder, steering axle tie rods, spindle, mast, and pivot pins

JCB, INC 3CX Backhoe

All pivot points, hydraulic cylinder mounts, wheel bearings

JCB 416HT Wheel Loader

All bearing/pivot points on chassis and bucket

JBC Front End Loader

Bucket Joints

Clark CMP50SD 10 K Forklift

Fork slides, pivot points, hydraulic cylinder mounts and steering

Clark DPS307 Forklift

Fork slide assembly

KOMATSU WA180-1 Wheel Loader

All pivot points, hydraulic cylinder mounts, wheel bearings

MARLIFT CH80C 75ft Boom Manlift

Manbasket, extension arms, tie rod ends, ball joints

Bobcat 341 Compact Crawler

All bearing/pivot points on chassis and bucket

FMC 25K Next Generation Small Loader (NGSL)

lift arm pivot points and steering

Volvo BL70B Backhoe

All grease points: scoop and bucket pivot, scoop and bucket arms, cylinder ends, stabilizers

Case 580M Backhoe

Boom, bucket, drivetrain

Hoist Liftruck P280 Forklift

All grease lubrication points including the fork slides, cylinder ends, steering axle tie rods, spindle, mast, and pivot pins

              Vehicles / Trucks / Trailers                       

FL80 Freightliner Tractor

5th wheel

Freightliner CL112 Tractor

5th wheel and brake grease points

Freightliner Tractor

5th wheel

Peterbilt PB360 Roll-Off Truck

Front suspension, brakes, hydraulic lift, and roller grease points

Peterbilt PB320 Refuse Truck

Suspension, brakes, hydraulic ram mechanism grease points

Peterbilt PB320 Refuse Truck

Suspension, brakes, drivetrain, hydraulic ram mechanism grease points

International Freightliner Tractor

5th wheel

International Navistar 7600 SFA Tractor

Fifth wheel

Bluebird Bus

Front suspension, front wheel kingpins, front and rear brakes

IHC 2554 6X4 D539 44500 Dump Truck

Dump bed pivot points, front ball joints

Harlen HTAS40 Warehouse Tug

Wheel Bearings

FORD F750 D531 24000 Dump Truck

Dump bed pivot points, front ball joints

Ford Bobtail Truck

Wheel bearings, ball joints, suspension

Ford F-350 Bobtail Truck

Front left wheel bearings, ball joints, and Pitman arm

Ford E-350 Utility Van

Ball joints, tie rod ends, and pitman arm

Chevrolet Silverado Truck

Front Suspension

ALU Body Corp ADS II Trailer

Hitch kingpin and brake grease points

Holden HLB20 Trailer

Hitch pin

Mowers                          

John Deere Mower

All grease points and bearings

John Deere Riding Lawn Mower

Deck pulley bearings and front wheel casters

Scag Power Equipment Turf Cat Lawnmower

All grease fitting: deck pulley bearings, deck lift mechanism and front wheel casters

Scag Power Equipment Tiger Cat Lawnmower

All grease fitting: deck pulley bearings, deck lift mechanism and front wheel casters

Scag Power Equipment Turf Cat Lawnmower

All grease fitting: deck pulley bearings, deck lift mechanism and front wheel casters

Toro Greensmaster Mower

All grease points and bearings

R & R Products Greens Max Mower (propane powered)

All grease points and bearing

 

Demonstration Details

An evaluation plan outlined the demonstration activities that would be performed. This plan provided an overview of the sites, summarized the selected vehicles and equipment, identified the grease requirements, the key performance criteria, as well as the greases to be evaluated. Additionally, the plans noted the data to be collected, its methods of analysis, and the roles and responsibilities of demonstration participants and stakeholders.

 

Table 3 lists the key performance criteria that the DoD and Federal Agency stakeholders established to evaluate and validate that these greases met the participants’ requirements

Table 3: Key Demonstration Performance Criteria

Criteria

Parameters

Equipment Performance

  • Equipment operation
  • Equipment wear

Grease Application

  • Ease of use
  • Quantify of grease per application
  • Frequency of grease application

 

The biobased greases were applied to demonstration equipment and vehicles at each site. A supply of the bio-based grease products was provided to installation personnel for the demonstration period, and they changed out the grease in each piece of equipment. Installation operators and maintenance personnel monitored the equipment performance throughout the demonstration period and provided feedback on the product performance.

 

Demonstration Results

Based on the demonstration feedback, the biobased biodegradable grease products met installation performance requirements.

 

  • No grease related equipment operation issues were reported
  • No grease related equipment wear issues were reported
  • The grease ease of use was comparable to baseline petroleum greases. Many sites reported that the biobased grease odor was more pleasant than the petroleum greases.
  • In most applications, users reported that the quantity of biobased grease used was the same or less than the corresponding petroleum grease
  • In most applications, users reported that the frequency of biobased grease application was the same or less than the corresponding petroleum grease
  • In several applications, maintenance facility personnel noted that the biobased grease products have a more consistent viscosity over time than the baseline petroleum grease, and do not separate over time as the baseline petroleum grease.

Demonstration Product National Stock Numbers

As a result of the successful demonstration as well as Service requests for these products, DLA Aviation established the following National Stock Numbers (NSNs), noted in Table 4 for the bio-based multipurpose greases which meet the USDA’s Bio-Preferred minimum 72% bio-based content requirement.

Table 4: Bio-based Grease NSNs

NSN

NGLI

Unit of Issue

9150-01-686-4300

NGLI 2

 BE > 72

14 oz. cartridge

9150-01-686-4280

35 Lb. can

9150-01-686-4229

120 Lb. drum

9150-01-686-5196

NGLI 2

 BE > 72

12 14 oz. tubes

9150-01-686-5182

400 Lb. drum