SBIR Phase II: Development of Macromolecular Corrosion Inhibitors Based on Renewable Resources for Biolubricants and Lubricants

Period of Performance: 09/15/2016 - 08/31/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

225 Stedman Street Unit 23
Lowell, MA 01851
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to help protect the environment by replacing existing toxic and environmentally-hazardous corrosion inhibitors used as lubricant additives with more eco-friendly alternatives. Release of lubricants (for example from loss during use, improper disposal of waste lubricants, accidental spillage, or off-shore drilling) has the potential to cause damage to the environment. Awareness of the toxic nature of current lubricant additives is a driver to develop new technologies for more environmentally friendly products. This project addresses the development of novel, environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitor lubricant additives. Besides the environmental benefits of the new technology, the lubricant industry may also benefit by expansion into environmentally sensitive market sectors (for example, marine lubricants used on ships) through the use of safer and less toxic additives. The new products also utilize non-petroleum based raw materials from renewable and sustainable resources, thus reducing dependence on petroleum. Apart from being non-toxic and environmentally friendly, the proposed products are also expected to be more effective inhibitors as compared to the products currently used in the market. The objectives of this Phase II research project are to design and develop environmentally friendly corrosion inhibitors providing high performance while meeting the eco-toxicological requirements of environmentally acceptable lubricants (EAL), including bio-lubricants. The use of corrosion inhibitors in lubricants is essential to protect metal surfaces. Unfortunately, many commercial corrosion inhibitors present issues with aquatic toxicity, persistence in the environment, and/or bioaccumulation that render them unacceptable for use in EAL or bio-lubricants. Awareness of the eco- toxicological problems of current inhibitors and the implementation of new regulations mandating the use of EAL in certain applications (e.g. marine lubricants) has created an urgent need in the market to replace existing products and the opportunity to develop new technologies for corrosion inhibition. This proposal addresses the key steps involved in the product development of corrosion inhibitors for biolubricants; namely (a) molecular design optimization, (b) cost-effective process scale up, (c) preparation of pound scale of lead products in the laboratory set-up; as identified in Phase I, (c) assessment of eco-toxicological properties using industry standard OECD/ASTM test methods and structure activity relationship (SAR) calculations, and (d) product storage stability testing.