DC Water unveiled results of a successful pilot with the biobased motor oil, reporting strong performance, improved fuel efficiency, and cleaner engines when compared to the petroleum-based oil they had previously used.

California-based Biosynthetic Technologies developed the motor oil using high-oleic soybean oil from soybeans grown by U.S. farmers. The United Soybean Board (USB) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have supported the soy-based, drop-in, synthetic alternative to petroleum-based motor oil. The biobased alternative is well suited for high-temperature automotive and industrial applications.

“At DC Water, we are always looking for innovative options that can help improve the sustainability of our fleet without sacrificing performance or increasing costs,” said Tim Fitzgerald, director of fleet management for DC Water. “This biobased motor oil exceeded our expectations in terms of performance and engine cleanliness. The oil samples have shown increased longevity and stability over time, while the equipment appears to be cleaner, which is a definite plus for us. The oil is biodegradable and less harmful to the environment. I see real potential for greater use of this biobased alternative in the future.”

Three other Washington, D.C.-area fleets also report success with the biobased motor oil after participating in a trial supported by the USB. They include the Smithsonian Institution, Arlington County, Va, and Prince George’s County, Md.

“Through the soybean checkoff, U.S. soybean growers have supported the innovation of both high-oleic soybeans as well as this motor oil made with them,” said Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board chair and farmer from Ethan, South Dakota. “We are thrilled that our investments contributed to these results that increase demand for U.S. soybeans while offering a new high-performing American-made motor oil for millions of vehicles.”

Bainbridge noted that based on projections, within five years U.S. soybean farmers could see up to 1 billion pounds of high oleic soybean oil being utilized annually for industrial uses. According to Biosynthetic Technologies, their American Petroleum Institute (API)-certified motor oil reduces sludge and varnish, resulting in improved fuel economy and longer lasting engines.

“Our high-performing synthetic oils also provide environmental benefits for renewability and biodegradability over petroleum based products,” said Bruce Marley, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Biosynthetic Technologies.

USDA designated engine crankcase oils as a product category under federal BioPreferred program. Federal agencies and their contractors must give preferential consideration to engine crankcase oils that contain a minimum of 25 percent biobased content. In addition, Biosynthetic motor oil carries the “USDA Certified Biobased Product” label, which means that it meets the federal program’s specified minimum biobased content.

Federal and other fleet representatives learned about the product when Fitzgerald presented the results during the National Association of Fleet Administrator’s (NAFA) Washington region’s annual meeting at the Washington Auto Show. NAFA’s meeting is coordinated with the General Services Administration’s FedFleet program, designed specifically for federal fleet administrators.

Biosynthetic Technologies recently announced that USDA issued the company a conditional commitment for a $132 million loan guarantee to finance the development of the Texas manufacturing plant that will produce biobased synthetic lubricant base oils. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is the lender of record for the USDA-guaranteed loan.

“We are excited to begin constructing our first manufacturing plant in Texas, which will boost the economy by creating new manufacturing jobs,” Marley added. “We expect commercial production to begin in mid-2020.”

United Soybean Board

Biosynthetic Technologies