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Global Bio-based Lubricants Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2027
The global bio-based lubricants market, valued at USD 3.34 billion in 2021, is projected to reach USD 4.53 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.21% during the period 2022-2027. The increasing awareness among consumers about the environmental benefits of bio-based lubricants is driving the market growth. These lubricants are formulated with organic materials such as vegetable oil, animal fats, natural esters, and special additives. Additionally, the rising prices of petrochemicals and the depletion of crude oil reserves worldwide are stimulating the demand for bio-based lubricants.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the bio-based lubricants market, leading to a global drop in new orders and the expansion of industrial capabilities. However, certain end-user industries, such as food processing, construction (infrastructure segment), and the power sector, were less affected, demonstrating their resilience during challenging times. Bio-based lubricants offer performance benefits such as extending equipment life, reducing maintenance costs, friction, and energy consumption. These features make them highly preferred in sensitive environments like forests, mining, marine, wind power, and construction equipment, where oil spills and mist can harm aquatic life and human health.
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USD 3.3 billion in 2020
Product, Application, End-User, and Geography
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The increasing focus on preserving crude oil reserves and aquatic life, along with stricter government regulations to limit CO2 levels in the environment, are key factors driving the bio-based lubricants market. This has led to an increase in product launches. Stringent regulatory standards like the EU Ecolabel, Vessel General Permit (VGP), International Maritime Organization (IMO), Blue Angel, and Swedish Standard are shaping the demand for bio-based lubricants globally. VGP regulations, for instance, mandate rules regarding oil discharge from commercial vessels in US territorial waters and the Great Lakes, as regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
While the regulatory landscape presents challenges for small and medium enterprises looking to scale up operations, these standards and regulations also ensure the safety, quality, and low toxicity of bio-based lubricant products. According to Dr. Larry Beaver, Vice President of Research & Development for RSC Bio Solutions, the development of high-performance synthetic hydrocarbon base oils has had a significant impact on accelerating the growth of biodegradable lubricants. This technology offers superior biodegradability and stability compared to previous ester-based technologies.
The increasing concern for environmental protection, carbon footprint reduction, and sustainable development has resulted in stricter regulations in the bio-based lubricants market. Regulatory bodies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EU Ecolabel, and IMO monitor and enforce rules related to oil spill discharge by the marine industry, or provide certified labels to ensure customers that the products are environmentally friendly. Therefore, companies across various industries, including mining, construction, marine, wind power, and automotive, need to ensure compliance with these rules, thus boosting the global bio-based lubricants market.
The growth of the bio-based lubricants market is driven by increasing automotive production, infrastructure development, and the power industry worldwide. These sectors demand lubricants primarily for use in mining equipment, including wheel loaders, mining trucks, scrapers, dozers, underground loaders, rock drills, and mining shovels used above and below ground. Lubricants play a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of these equipment types, continuous operation, and protection against dust, water, and breakdowns. Additionally, these lubricants reduce health risks for employees and are environmentally friendly, protecting aquatic life in the event of lubricant spills.
One major challenge in the global bio-based lubricants market is their high cost, especially in emerging economies like India where price sensitivity is high. The production process, which involves several chemical modification processes like transesterification, epoxidation, and esterification reactions, contributes to the overall cost of bio-based lubricants.
Furthermore, the lack of lubricating properties poses a hurdle to the growth of the bio-based lubricants market. These lubricants often fail to provide essential physical properties such as thermal stability, oxidative stability, and a suitable viscosity range. They also perform poorly in cold processing facilities, giving petroleum-based lubricants an advantage over vegetable oil-based ones. These properties are crucial for ensuring smooth machine operation, protecting against friction and corrosion, and maintaining performance at high temperatures without damage.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including product, application, end-user, and geography.
Segmentation by Product Type
Segmentation by Application
Segmentation by End-Users
Agriculture & Forestry
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Rest of Europe
APAC – China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Rest of APAC
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Rest of Latin America
Middle East & Africa -Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Rest of MEA
During the forecast period, it is anticipated that biodegradable synthetic lubricants will dominate the industry. Synthetic esters have been used to produce lubricants since the 1950s. Currently, manufacturers prefer synthetic esters over vegetable oil for the production of bio-based lubricants due to their enhanced benefits and abundant availability in nature. Synthetic esters are particularly favored for applications that require frequent lubricant changes, such as hydraulic fluid, engine oil, and stern tube-thruster fluid. TotalEnergies, Fuchs, and Condat are among the companies in the bio-based lubricants market offering products based on synthetic esters.
Among the various applications, hydraulic fluid holds the largest segment in the market. The global bio-based lubricants market is divided into five segments based on application: hydraulic oil, chain oil, gear oil, metalworking fluid, and others. Hydraulic oil currently holds the highest share in the industry and is expected to maintain this trend during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the growing demand for bio-based hydraulic fluid in the agriculture & forest equipment and mining industries.
In terms of end-users, the bio-based lubricants market is primarily segmented into the marine, mining, construction equipment, automotive, wind power, agriculture, and forestry industries. The marine industry held the highest share in the market in 2021; however, the automotive industry is expected to become the dominant player during the forecast period. The demand for lubricants in the marine industry has increased over the years due to stricter regulations and the need to address issues caused by oil spills. Key regulations such as the Vessel Grant Permit and IMO 2020 promote the use of biodegradable lubricants in marine vessels to reduce carbon emissions and protect equipment.
The global bio-based lubricants market is being propelled by factors such as rising economic development, a focus on sustainability to reduce carbon footprint, and growth in the automotive, mining, and industrial sectors. Stringent government regulations encouraging the use of eco-friendly and environmentally friendly products are also driving the market across all regions. Europe currently holds the highest contribution to the global bio-based lubricants market, followed by North America.
The North American market has witnessed significant growth in recent years. The United States, with its robust transportation infrastructure and rigorous emission standards, is a key country in the region and attracts global players to establish their manufacturing facilities there.
Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing market for bio-based lubricants during the forecast period. APAC is the third-largest and fastest-growing market for bio-based lubricants. Indonesia, Malaysia, and China are leading countries in the region. These regions are experiencing increased demand from the automotive & transportation sectors, growing mining activities, and a thriving manufacturing & machinery sector driven by regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Indonesia and Malaysia possess abundant palm oil resources, while India is the third-largest producer of rapeseed oil and the largest producer of castor oil globally. Consequently, lubricant manufacturers are expanding their production bases in Asia due to the easy availability of raw materials and low labor costs. The consumption base in the region is also driven by foreign investments, a booming manufacturing sector facilitated by favorable policies, a growing middle-class population, and improving living standards throughout APAC.
The competitive landscape in the global bio-based lubricants market is currently experiencing intensification. This can be attributed to the rapidly evolving technological environment, the growing emphasis on reducing carbon footprint, and the increasing focus on sustainability. These factors pose challenges to vendors as customers now demand continuous innovation and upgrades. The market exhibits a moderate level of fragmentation, with various players offering bio-based lubricant products that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and highly functional.
Among the prominent companies operating in the global bio-based lubricants market are Castrol (UK), Fuchs (Germany), Cortec Corporation (US), Renewable Lubricants (US), Metalube (UK), Repsol (Spain), and Kluber Lubrication (Germany), among others. These companies engage in fierce competition to secure a leading position in the industry, facing both competition from local vendors and international players on an ongoing basis.
Key companies profiled in this report include Castrol, FUCHS, Renewable lubricants, TotalEnergies, Addinol, Cortec Corporation, Condat, DuBois Chemicals, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, Haynes Lubricants, Kluber Lubrication, Lubriplate Lubricants Company, Metalube, Panolin AG, Repsol, Vickers Oil.
Recent Industry Developments
In 2019, Metalube introduced a range of biodegradable lubricants designed for the lubrication and protection of umbilical cables and steel wire ropes used in marine environments. These lubricants are formulated using biodegradable resources and high-performance additives that are environmentally friendly and do not pose a threat to aquatic organisms.
In March 2020, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) launched a line of biodegradable lubricants for engine oil in the UAE market. These lubricants are formulated using 100% plant oil, ensuring a sustainable and eco-friendly option for engine lubrication.
In 2021, BioAccelergy and Exxon Mobil entered into a joint agreement to collaborate on the development of bio-based lubricants made from vegetable and seed oil. This partnership aims to benefit Exxon Mobil by enhancing its sustainability efforts and leveraging advanced technology in the production of bio-based lubricants.
Key Questions Answered
What is the size of the global bio-based lubricants market?
The global bio-based lubricants market is expected to reach a size of USD 4.53 billion by 2027.
What is the growth rate of the global bio-based lubricants market?
The global bio-based lubricants market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.21%. This growth is driven by factors such as the increasing price of petrochemicals and the depletion of crude oil reserves worldwide, which stimulate the demand for bio-based lubricants.
Who are the key vendors in the global bio-based lubricants market?
The key players in the global bio-based lubricants market include Castrol, FUCHS, Renewable Lubricants, and TotalEnergies.
What are the latest trends in the global bio-based lubricants market?
The latest trends in the global bio-based lubricants market include the increasing importance of bio-based lubricants in the automotive industry and the accelerating demand from the mining industry.
Which region holds the largest market share in the global bio-based lubricants market?
Europe holds the largest market share in the global bio-based lubricants market. The demand for bio-based lubricants in the region is expected to rise further due to the government’s stringent environmental regulations policy.