University of Delaware OEIP
University of Delaware

Lubricants Produced from Renewable Sources

Technology #ud18-06

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Basudeb Saha
Dr. Saha's research interests are in the area of catalysis, reaction kinetics and mechanism and sustainable chemistry.
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Sibao Liu
Dionisios G Vlachos
The Vlachos research group’s interest lie in the reaction engineering and materials synthesis areas and in particular in the interplay of chemistry with transport over multiple length and time scales.
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Managed By
Johnson Will
Business Development Specialist 3028314794

APPLICATIONS: A new process has been developed to produce lubricants from renewable sources.  Products can be tailored for use in the automotive, aviation, cosmetics and personal care industries.


The annual global consumption of lubricants is estimated to be ~40 million tons.  The environmental impact for this level of production from the traditional petroleum-based sources is significant.  Thus, lubricants sourced from sustainable alternatives, including fatty acids and natural-oils, offer huge environmental benefits without large cost penalties.  The method of this invention produces products with high yield and selectivity from lignocellulosic biomass intermediates, eliminating the need for complex and expensive product separation.  This process also addresses current industry-level challenges such as environmental carbon emissions and our dependency on petroleum as a raw material for current lubricants.


  • Biodegradability
  • Low toxicity
  • Comparable viscosity (in relation to petroleum-lubricants)
  • Highly oxidative and high thermal stability
  • Similar to commercial high value synthetic polyalphaolefin lubricants


The new process developed at UD starts with natural biomass-derived intermediates as raw materials and uses low-temperature reactions and inexpensive catalysts.  The process produces lubricants where carbon numbers and molecular architectures of the product can be tailored to multiple different industries, producing products that are comparable to commercial high value lubricants currently on the market.

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: Prototype development and testing are underway.