A soldier displays a bottle of “green” bio-based lubricant. (Courtesy photo)
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Engineering has increased the availability and use of “green” products, by successfully introducing a new family of bio-based products into the federal supply system.
Engineers in the Hazardous Minimization and Green Products Branch here collaborated with Aviation Supplier Operations’ Chemicals/Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants,/Gases Integrated Supplier Team to provide qualified, less hazardous products for everyday use by our military service customers.
“DLA Aviation is the integrated material manager for chemicals, petroleum and industrial gases and is responsible for supplying these commodities to the entire federal government,” said Stephen Perez, management analyst, Hazardous Minimization and Green Products Branch.
Last July, DLA Aviation joined with the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE) and together initiated dialogue with Fort Jackson, S.C., and Joint Base Charleston, S.C. to demonstrate the effectiveness of a bio-based alternative to petroleum-based penetrating lubricants used previously.
“Penetrating lubricants are chemicals designed to lubricate moving parts on equipment susceptible to rusting,” said Calvin Lee, chief, Hazardous Minimization and Green Products Branch. “Petroleum-based products commercially available include WD-40 and Liquid Wrench. Although bio-based alternatives are also available commercially, none had been tested and demonstrated for DoD use until now.”
Multiple executive orders and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act mandate the use of green and/or bio-based products in an effort to reduce our country’s dependence on petroleum-based products. Bio-based products are made from U.S.-grown renewable feedstock such as soybean, corn and sunflower oils that can be made into a variety of products such as lubricants and industrial fluids, Lee said.
DLA Aviation and NDCEE performed an in-depth comparative analysis of bio-based items to determine if they would meet DoD performance requirements. For penetrating lubricants, DoD Standard A-A-50493B (Oil, Penetrating (For Loosening Frozen Metallic Parts)) outlines the basic criteria that any bio-based product would have to meet.
After careful examination, two commercial bio-based products (Environmental Logic 38 and Bio-Blast) met the specification requirements on paper.
Using the petroleum-based product as a baseline, the two bio-based products' performance results were compared on latches, hood access pins, bolts and tow hooks on Light Armored vehicles, road graders, dump trucks, Humvee and equipment at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
Lee said that members of the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command at Fort Jackson and the U.S. Air Force 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 437th Maintenance Group – Aircraft Ground Equipment at Joint Base Charleston agreed to participate in the demonstration of the apparently qualified bio-based products. The tests were conducted for approximately 90 days at both locations. Measures of merit included whether the product loosened rusted bolts; appeared to provide protection from corrosion; the amount of product used and ease of use.
In almost every case, the bio-based products performed as well or better than the baseline petroleum-based product. Based on military service users’ recommendations, National Stock Numbers were sought in late 2010 and granted in January 2011. The new bio-based penetrating lubricant NSNs are 9150-01-591-4213/4274/4281/4247. These products are now readily available.
“New item demonstration projects such as bio-based penetrating lubricants illustrate clearly how the branch is implementing DLA Aviation’s vision for ‘Greening DoD,” Lee said. “Our mission is to increase the availability and ease of ordering green products in the Aviation Demand and Supply Chain and by that barometer we are well on our way.”