Many industrial processes are dependent on the proper application of modern tribological knowledge for the purposes of maintaining equipment integrity and minimizing total energy losses. Consequently, the development of modern lubricants is vital for satisfying growing performance standards and increasingly stringent environmental regulations. Industrial lubricants are regulated based on demanding technical requirements and characteristics, such as high viscosity index, hydraulic stability, corrosion prevention, thermal stability, wide operating temperature ranges, demulsibility, and oxidative stability. Escalating environmental and sustainability concerns have shifted significance towards non-technical criteria for the evaluation of lubricants. Biodegradability and renewability are two influential factors in the discussion regarding the long-term sustainability of future tribological applications. Emphasis is placed on the development of environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and biodegradable lubricants that would minimize industrial pollution associated with oil-related spills and leakages. Bio-based lubricants, manufactured from renewable, organic resources, present themselves as viable alternatives to traditional petroleum-based lubricants. A major section of this review paper will provide a comparative analysis of renewable resource-based lubricants and mineral oil-based lubricants in terms of their chemical properties and respective advantages. Further discussion concerning biolubricants and use of non-edible plant feedstocks will highlight the clear economic and environmental incentives of implementing modern tribological knowledge. This review paper will conclude with the examination of the obstacles that modern day biolubricants must overcome and the future expectations of green tribology.
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