F+L Week 2019 | Junmin Zhao | The significant challenges for the China lubricant market in the CN VI era
To improve the lives of its citizen and meet its commitment to environmental protection, the Chinese government continues to tighten emissions regulations to curb pollution from the more than 200 million vehicles on its roads. The latest China VI represents one of the most stringent emission regulations in the world. To meet these limits, vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are introducing new powertrain and after- treatment systems which require new improved engine oil technology for optimum performance. Ensuring the use of these high-performance engine oils throughout a vehicle’s life is essential in continued compliance. For passenger cars, TGDi engines combined with gasoline particulate filters (GPFs) have been widely adopted by OEMs to meet China VI emission standards. To further reduce fuel consumption, most of the OEMs in China are now switching to SAE 0W-20 and SAE 0W-16 low viscosity engine oils. These changes in hardware and oil viscosity bring significant challenges to engine oils. TGDi engines run hotter and work harder than conventional port fuel injected (PFI) engines, requiring the engine oils to be extremely robust. LSPI is a serious concern for TGDi engines. Protecting the engine from the attack of LSPI during its entire life is a problem that must be addressed. In addition to balance fuel efficiency and durability, stringent particulate emission limits drive the use of GPFs and bring new limits on sulphated ash, phosphorous and sulfur (SAPS) for engine lubricants. Similarly, for commercial vehicles (CV), the introduction of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) for compliance with China VI emissions standards will push the market to adopt low ash and aftertreatment compatible oils; while low viscosity oil will receive a much higher acceptance driven by the fuel consumption requirements. In addition, China VI oils are expected to meet OEMs’ ambitious extended oil drain interval (ODI) requirements and to provide protection over variable fuel quality. All these create the need for significantly higher performance lubricants from 2020 onwards. Major efforts from OEMs, oil marketers and additive companies are undertaking to develop high performance, fuel efficient, after- treatment compatible engine oils for new generation vehicles in the China VI era. The industry is also going to face the challenge to educate the end users on the use of the right oils for their new China VI vehicles. In this presentation, the performance challenges and the proper engine oil technologies for CN VI vehicles will be discussed. It also includes the key findings from Lubrizol’s technical works on CN VI developments. In addition, it brings up the ideas on how the whole industry can work together to supply high-performance oils to ensure the good protection throughout the entire vehicle life and upgrade the lubricant market in the CN VI era.