Ken Hope Speaks with TLT Magazine on PAO Trends in Vehicles’ Fuel Efficiency

Ken Hope, global technical services manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical’s polyalphaolefins (PAO) division, spoke with Tribology and Lubrication Technology (TLT) magazine about innovation in the PAO arena for vehicles’ fuel efficiency. In an article titled, “Squeezing Energy from Synthetics,” the publication delved into how much more PAOs can improve fuel efficiency by reducing frictional forces within a car’s engine. As the base for synthetic oils found in cars, Hope explained PAOs still have room for innovation in lubrication properties to improve fuel consumption and lessen energy dispersion. TLT also quoted other leading industry sources, whose work with Hope has advanced their operations. In addition to his private-sector work, Hope is a longtime member of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), where he currently serves as treasurer.
 
TLT magazine wrote, “One of the last big advances [in PAOs], according to STLE-member Lake Speed Jr., head of R&D for Driven Racing Oil of Olive Branch, Miss., was in the early 2010s: chemists developed metallocene PAOs, also known as mPAOs, using a new way to synthesize the long chain hydrocarbon molecules.”
 
“Speed first heard of mPAO while attending an STLE annual meeting where current STLE treasurer Ken Hope, a technical services manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., presented new work with this base stock at the meeting. Speed recognized the advancement’s potential for use in racing cars.”
 
“I haven’t seen an example of a petroleum-based, highly isoparaffinic fluid that is equivalent to or better than PAO,” Hope says. “Oftentimes we see comparisons on the basis of a few properties, but we are finding that when you look at the balance of the overall properties, including the volatility, low-temperature viscometrics, oxidative stability, thermal conductivity and frictional properties, there is a different story. Targets are key. PAOs open up blending opportunities so [lubricant] formulators can tailor their products to meet specific technical targets.”
 
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This content originally appeared in January 2019 TLT Magazine, published by Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). Used with permission.