Biodegradability doesn't mean less performance

Read time: 4 min
Published: 07 March 2022

Biodegradable lubricants or Ecolabel certified, what does it mean?

What is the biodegradability of a substance and how do you demonstrate it?

Biodegradable lubricants are fluids with the ability to decompose into gases or liquid products under the action of air, water and bacteria. Biodegradability concerns the process by which organic substances are decomposed by micro-organism (mainly aerobic bacteria) into simpler substances such as carbon dioxide, water and ammonia that can be reintroduced into the organic cycle.

OECD 301/B, biodegradability test, reveals whether a substance is biodegradable in the short time, or whether it is persistent within a few days (28 days) most of the material (at least 60% or 70% depending on the type of substance analyzed) must be degraded by the bacteria in the atmosphere. Substances that meet this condition do not accumulate in the atmosphere, but they are disposed in a short time naturally.

What us the European ECOLABEL and why is it such a prestige to get it?

EU Ecolabel is the European Union label that characterizes those environmentally friendly products and services that, ensure high standards of performances. The Ecolabel is a scientifically defined eco-label, subject to very selective criteria. The certification, in fact, is obtained by an independent Organism.

Pakelo biodegradable lubricants: Applications

Pakelo’s products range was created 20 years ago to supply Forest, Agricultural and Construction sectors a reduced environmental impact in oils is necessary.

As shown in the graph, ester base oils distinguish in synthetic or natural. Natural bases come from vegetable oils, esters of animal oils, fat acids, while synthetic ester bases come from industrial. The advantages of ester bases, in addiction to their biodegradability, is processing the greater polarity and unctuousness, not forgetting the fact that, in the syntethic version, they allow much longer replacement intervals, resulting in considerable savings.

True or false: FAQs Biodegradable Lubricants

True or false: Are biodegradable products worse than mineral products?


Products directly derived from a natural extract are thermally less stable and a high temperature condition can create deposits. The products formulated with saturated bases or with synthetic ester bases are, on the contrary, in terms of superior performance both at high and low temperatures. That is why it is important to always assess the source of raw materials. An indicator is the number of iodine indicating the unsaturation status: low values normally correspond to a higher performance and also with longer replacement intervals.

Can biodegradable products be easily dispersed into the environment?


Biodegradable lubricants are used to reduce the environmental impact in case of accidental leakage but they must be disposed of in the same way as conventional lubricants.

Does a biodegradable oil decompose in the tank of my car and should I continue to refill it?


The degradation of the biocompatible material occurs only in particular conditions that are those that occur in the soil or in the environment.

Is ECOLABEL and biodegradable the same thing?


Ecolabel certification, in addition to biodegradability adds a number of requirements like low toxicity to the aquatic environment, a large share of components from renewable sources, the use of packaging from recycled material and a series of very strict technical performance requirements.

Do certain public contracts necessarily require the use of biodegradable oils?


Increasingly public procurements include among the requirements the biodegradability of the used products (CAM Minimum Environmental Criteria) and therefore also lubricants.

Are there biodegradable engine oils approved by Manufacturers?


All engine Manufacturers perform tests on conventional oils, in fact, the use of biodegradable oils, in addition to being critical for high temperatures, it is of little use since the presence of pollutants such as fuel and/or unburnt particulates make the product non-biodegradable already after the first operation.

Do biodegradable products cost more than mineral products?


Using selected raw materials it is possible to obtain performance levels and elongations in replacement intervals thus obtaining a lower average/hourly cost. It is good distrust too "cheap" products that can hide non-performing raw materials, which could generate unexpected maintenance costs.

Are biodegradable products more flammable than mineral products?


Truth to be told the flash points of products formulated with esters are normally higher than those formulated with mineral equivalents.

Is it true that Pakelo antifreezes are biodegradable products?


The cooling fluids we produce are highly biodegradable. They provide excellent protection against freezing and boiling for a period of time above the average of conventional antifreezes, also favoring less maintenance of the circuit components. With the aim to provide products with the minimum impact on the health of customers, Pakelo promotes a range that is absolutely free of boron, while maintaining the qualitative performance of the substance.

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