Discussing the lubrication needs of internal combustion engines

Discussing the lubrication needs of internal combustion engines

Natural gas and hydrogen combustion engines need lube love too.

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about engine oil, alternative fuel internal combustion engines are well positioned to eat up market share in an increasingly sustainability-focused trucking market. Last year, Cummins announced the development of a common X Series engine platform that would offer a selection of diesel, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel capabilities to serve fleet decarbonization efforts and meet application demands set by diesel engines. This isn’t just the continued evolution of ICE efficiency. Changing the fuel that the engine burns changes a host of variables, including lubrication.

The diesel world has seen its fair share of lubrication change with the continuing low viscosity trends brought by API CK-4 and API FA-4 diesel engine oil formulations. Now add natural gas and hydrogen engines into the mix and the oil spec and recommendation complexity increases exponentially–especially when you consider that fleets making a decarbonization transition over the next 10 to 20 years (That’s only four-ish new truck lifecycles, by the way) could likely have a mix of ICE diesel, natural gas and hydrogen vehicles.

To help clear up any lubrication confusion and focus on what we know about ICE oil needs right now, I connected with Shawn Whitacre, senior staff engineer, Chevron, who walks us through the differences oil usage differences in various engines and what it could mean for fleets managing a mixed fuel lineup in the future. Watch the video above for all of his insight.

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