Stringent emissions legislation along with changes in engine hardware and base oil types are set to promote the greater incorporation of lubricant additives in passenger car motor oils and heavy-duty diesel oils, according to market analysis from Frost & Sullivan. The research finds that the market earned revenues of $1.2 billion in 2011 and estimates this number will reach nearly $1.6 billion in 2017.
Increasingly stringent European Union (EU) emissions standards are pushing the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. This is heightening the focus on lubricant performance, which plays a key role in enhancing fuel-efficiency.
"The integration of more additives will serve the triple purpose of reducing carbon emissions, lowering operating costs and reducing fossil fuel consumption," noted Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Sandeepan Mondal. "In addition, the greater penetration of emission-control technologies such as diesel particulate filters and the extension of oil drain intervals will create opportunities for innovative automotive lubricant additives."
Engine hardware changes aimed at ensuring greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions will make engine operating conditions harsher. This trend, together with the eventual transition from lower-quality base oils to higher-quality ones, will put pressure on additive manufacturers to create novel formulations.
However, rigorous testing procedures, high development costs and a slowdown in automobile sales threaten long-term growth prospects.
"Developing a single additive type can cost between 1 and 10 million euros," explained Mondal. "Product development costs, in addition to manufacturing plant outlays, can take between 10 to 15 years to be recovered."
The slowdown in automobile sales has affected the automotive lubricant additives market to some extent. However, because of higher treat rates and new formulations, market volumes are still expected to increase.
Overall, economic recovery in Europe and a greater focus on developing better test standards for engine oils can result in reduced development and marketing time for automotive lubricant additives.
For more information, visit www.chemicals.frost.com.