Environment Friendly Grease



Grease is a lubricating substance that is widely used in various industries, including automotive, manufacturing, and construction. However, traditional grease formulations can have a negative impact on the environment and human health due to their toxic chemicals and non-biodegradable components. To address this issue, eco-friendly grease formulations have been developed, which offer a safer and more sustainable alternative to conventional greases.

Eco-friendly grease is a type of lubricant that is made from renewable and biodegradable resources, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and other plant-based materials. Unlike traditional petroleum-based greases, eco-friendly greases are free from harmful chemicals such as heavy metals, chlorine, and sulfur. These greases are also biodegradable, which means that they can be broken down naturally by microorganisms in the environment, reducing their impact on soil, water, and air quality.

Difference between eco-friendly grease and commercial grease

Benefits of using eco-friendly grease

  1. Reduced environmental impact: Eco-friendly greases are made from renewable and biodegradable resources, which reduces their environmental impact. They are also free from toxic chemicals, which helps to protect the environment and human health.
  2. Improved equipment performance: Eco-friendly greases provide excellent lubrication properties, which can help to improve equipment performance and lifespan.
  3. Cost-effective: Although eco-friendly greases can be more expensive than traditional petroleum-based greases, they can also be more cost-effective in the long run due to their superior performance and longer lifespan.
  4. Compliance with environmental regulations: Eco-friendly greases are often required by environmental regulations, especially in industries such as marine and aviation, which have strict environmental standards.

Types of eco-friendly grease formulations

  1. Vegetable oil-based greases: These greases are made from vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, and sunflower oil. They offer excellent lubrication properties and are biodegradable.
  2. Animal fat-based greases: These greases are made from animal fats such as beef tallow or lard. They are biodegradable and offer good lubrication properties.
  3. Synthetic ester-based greases: These greases are made from synthetic esters, which are biodegradable and offer excellent lubrication properties. They are often used in extreme temperature conditions.
  4. Polyalkylene glycol (PAG)-based greases: These greases are made from PAG, which is a synthetic polymer. They offer excellent lubrication properties and are often used in high-temperature applications.

Research work acknowledging eco-friendly grease performance

A study put forward by Ankit Saxena and team presents a maiden combination to develop a series of greases using soybean oil as base oil, organo-montmorillonite as a thickener, and CaCO3 nanoparticles (0–3 %w/w) as additives. In general, the developed gels exhibited equivalent characteristics to that of the commercial grease. However, the concentration of nanoparticles appeared to influence grease behavior significantly. The distribution of and the level of agglomeration among the nanoparticles were recognized as the two crucial parameters. Among all the formulations, the grease with 2% doping of CaCO3 nanoparticles displayed the optimum properties (thixotropy and rheology) closest to that of the commercial reference grease.


The same team also presented a study which explored, for the very first time, an effort to enhance the lubricity of eco-friendly greases (based on vegetable oil and organoclay) using biopolymers like gum acacia (GA) and guar gum (GG) as additives. Two different series of greases containing 0–10% w/w of GA and GG were developed and evaluated for a standard anti-wear (AW) test on a four-ball tester. The addition of GG in greases augments AW characteristics (≈22% improvement) and frictional response (≈42% improvement) at all concentrations. The formation of a physisorbed tribofilm at the interface is attributed to the enhanced performance.

In another research work, Cyrille Alode Vodounon and team investigated the influence of cellulose and lignin concentration as additives on the rheological properties, consistency and mechanical stability. Formulations with good rheological characteristics and mechanical stability were obtained by adding 20% (w/w) cellulose or lignin.

Team of D.Gasni conducted a study to compare the lubricating grease from coconut oils and palm oil as base oils. The consistency, dropping point, and tribological properties of lubricating greases were investigated and compared between coconut oils and palm oil. The consistency and dropping point were measured to investigate physical properties. Whereas, the pin on disc apparatus was used to investigate wear and coefficient of friction. The results indicate that the coconut oil greases show superior tribological properties when compare to the palm oil grease.


  1. M. Ahmad, A. R. Mohd Yusoff, A. Shah, “Environmental friendly grease: A review”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 242, 2020.
  2. S. P. Singh, “Eco-Friendly Lubricants: An Overview”, International Journal of Engineering and Advanced Technology, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 1589-1596, 2018.
  3. J. R. Subramanian, “Grease-based on vegetable oil: A review”, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 52, pp. 1574-1584, 2015.
  4. Nagendramma, P.; Kumar, P. Eco-Friendly Multipurpose Lubricating Greases from Vegetable Residual Oils. Lubricants 20153, 628-636. https://doi.org/10.3390/lubricants3040628
  5. Ankit Saxena, Deepak Kumar, Naresh Tandon, Development of eco-friendly nano-greases based on vegetable oil: An exploration of the character via structure, Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 172, 2021, 114033, ISSN 0926-6690, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2021.114033.
  6. Ankit Saxena, Deepak Kumar, Naresh Tandon, Unexplored potential of acacia and guar gum to develop bio-based greases with impressive tribological performance: A possible alternative to mineral oil-based greases, Renewable Energy, Volume 200, 2022, Pages 505-515, ISSN 0960-1481, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2022.09.127.
  7. Vodounon, Cyrille & Sterpu, Anca & Prodea, Iuliana-Marlena & Koncsag, Claudia. (2020). Eco-friendly Additivated Lubricating Greases Made of Agricultural Resources. Revista de Chimie. 71. 202-208. 10.37358/RC.20.2.7917.
  8. Gasni, D. & Fajar, I. & Adinda, H.. (2020). Environmentally Friendly Lubricating Greases from Coconut Oils and Palm Oil. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. 834. 012006. 10.1088/1757-899X/834/1/012006.

Harshvardhan Singh works as a Senior Service Engineer at a mining firm in India. He is currently working into oil analysis field. Has worked in the filed of tribology and lubrication and loves to write about the same.

1 Comment

  1. Hello, very interesting article thank you. Can I please ask you for your advice?
    What is the least environmentally harmful grease that you would recommend to replace bicycle bearing grease?
    Requirements that I can think of would be low load and rpm, rubber/plastic compatible, rain resistant, good operating in the [-20;80]°C range, stable structure and hardness, weld load over 1000 N at the 4-ball weld test.
    If you have specific products/brands in mind that would also be very helpful.
    Is the additive’s environmental impact taken into account in these studies and grease compositions?
    Is the environmental impact quantified?

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