RiKarbon Turns Agricultural Waste into Bio-PAO Lubricants

Tech start-up RiKarbon gains commercial traction for its leading-edge, bio-based emollients made from upcycled, climate-friendly agricultural waste products.

Severe global climate challenges and resulting pledges to reduce carbon emissions create an urgent need to produce synthetic lubricants that prevent the depletion of fossil resources. Poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) is a class of synthetic lubricants with superior performance benefits, including low-temperature applications, long lifespan, and inherent biodegradability. PAOs with different viscosity grades are commercially available for various applications such as automotive, industrial, hydraulic, marine, function fluids, and gear and engine oils. The global lubricant market size totals $160 billion.
Leading economies, including the United States, are driving the decarbonization of the manufacturing sector and the use of renewable feedstock. Unfortunately, PAOs are commonly produced from petroleum feedstock, causing significant carbon emissions and related environmental ramifications. RiKarbon’s technology and product portfolio are the solution to this pressing problem. Its patent-pending, energy-efficient technology turns biomaterials and agricultural waste, such as corn stover and corn cob, into PAO-like lubricants. RiKarbon’s bio-alternatives match the key specifications of standard petroleum-based, lower-viscosity PAOs, allowing seamless integration into existing markets. 
The U.S. Department of Energy provided crucial funding for RiKarbon’s technology research and commercialization efforts. The company recently partnered with Germany-based BASF to bring green emollients to the global market while simultaneously diversifying products and scaling up manufacturing processes to better serve additional partners. RiKarbon is especially interested in collaborating with lubricant manufacturers and investors to accelerate product market introduction to fast-track the fight against climate change.