Bio-based Lubricants and Process Materials in Sustainable Public Acquisition

  Pie Chart of the Oil Market Copyright: © ifas

Damage to the environment and health risks can be minimized by using environmentally friendly lubricants and process materials. Despite the proven technical performance of bio-based lubricants, their sales volume is stagnating. The aim of the study is to record the substitution potential for biohydraulic oils in the context of federal construction projects.

Benefit Procedure
Detailed determination of the hydraulic oil consumption of various construction machines Research on oil consumption per hour
Recording of hydraulic oil consumption for federal construction projects Breakdown of the construction machinery used and its operating time
Classification of construction projects in terms of hydraulic oil consumption Creation of sample calculations



Niklas Bauer

Deputy chief engineer


+49 241 80 47702



Stocktaking and Recommended Actions

Environmentally friendly lubricants and process materials are used in a wide variety of technical applications. Particularly in mobile machinery, efforts are being made to further establish biolubricants. Due to unforeseeable accidents and leaks, a considerable amount of lubricants is released into the environment every year. This results in the contamination of the affected environment. For this reason, for example, soils have to be extensively reprocessed after contact with hydraulic oil so that they return to their original natural state. Bio-based hydraulic oils minimise this problem through their biodegradability and antitoxicity. In addition, bio-based lubricants consist of at least 25 % renewable components, which has a positive effect on the ecological balance of the fluids. In addition to the benefits for people and the environment, they also offer a number of technical advantages. Despite the proven performance of environmentally friendly lubricants and process fluids, the growth of the market share of biolubricants is stagnating. The market share is at an almost constant value of 4 - 5 %.


Determining the Hydraulic Oil Consumption of Various Construction Machines

Oil Samples Oil Samples

The oil consumption of construction machinery provides information on the substitution potential of biolubricants. The volume of the respective hydraulic tanks and the change intervals suggested by the manufacturer were taken into account. This makes it possible to calculate the hydraulic oil consumption per hour of various mobile machines. Thus, a database was created that shows the consumption of various machines from different manufacturers. In addition to frequently used construction machines such as mobile excavators or wheel loaders, special attention is paid to road construction machines. In this area, the high heat load (e.g. from hot asphalt) leads to rapid oil ageing and thus to short change intervals.


Hydraulic Oil Consumption in Federal Construction Projects

Hydraulic consumption Copyright: © ifas

The work machines were then considered in their areas of application and various example projects and their hydraulic oil consumption were analysed. In addition to example projects, the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 was considered, which is a central plan of the Federal Government for the new construction and expansion of interregional transport routes. It was possible to show the amount of substitution potential in these areas and what developments can be expected in the sales market.
The examination of the various construction projects showed that the share of the costs of hydraulic oil in the total costs of the construction projects is low. For biohydraulic oils, this share is about 1 % of the total order volume. This is relevant for communication with tenderers and users, as the cost differences between mineral oil-based and bio-based hydraulic oils, measured in terms of total construction projects, prove to be small. This invalidates the frequently cited obstacle of higher costs compared to the use of biohydraulic oils.
Several workshops were held to communicate the data obtained.



The NoeBio research project is funded by the Agency of Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsender Rohstoffe e.V.). (FNR). Special thanks go to the collaborative partner, Technik Arbeit Transfer gGmbH (TAT), with whom the project was worked on.