Developing a market for Canadian bio-based hydraulic fluids

4 October 2018

Performance vastly improved through newly available additive technology and high oleic oilseed feedstocks

A Guelph-based organization is helping grow the market for more environmentally friendly hydraulic fluids made from Canadian oilseeds.

Oilseed Innovation Partners (OIP) has identified specific applications and end use sectors ideal for the plant-based products, and is now working with partners in those industries to introduce the products to the marketplace.

“Bio-based hydraulic fluids are high performance products that are not only better for the environment, but also deliver superior performance to conventional products,” says CEO Jeff Schmalz. “The availability of these products opens up new potential market segments for Canada’s bio-based lubricants industry.”

Plant oils have naturally higher levels of lubricity that reduce friction and wear, as well as a high viscosity index that allows for a wide range of operating temperatures compared to petroleum-based oils. The base oils in the new hydraulic fluids are derived from specialty oilseed varieties that are rich in oleic acid. This vastly improves the oil’s oxidative stability, making it well suited for industrial and commercial lubricant applications.

These new bio-based products perform like the conventional highly engineered petrochemical-based synthetic lubricants on the market today. The non-toxic and biodegradable formulas are gentle on the environment, making them ideal for use in towns, cities, counties and regional municipalities, in environmentally sensitive areas like conservation areas, trails, public lands, parks, and golf courses, and near water or marine locations.

The bio-based hydraulic fluids have excellent dielectric properties, preventing discharge of electrical current, which is a key safety requirement of lifting equipment using hydraulics such as utility bucket trucks.

“Hydraulics are widely used daily by municipalities, public works and utilities, and our primary objective is to build a new market category for biobased hydraulic fluids by working closely with all of those sectors and more,” says OIP’s Director, Bioproduct Commercialization, Rob Roe. “The oils from high oleic oilseed crops are now readily available and additive technology has been developed for biolubricants like biobased hydraulic fluids that offer superior performance and are more environmentally friendly. That makes these products ideal for anyone looking to reduce their environmental footprint without sacrificing budget or performance.” 

Municipalities, utilities, public works, road maintenance crews, arborists and electrical contractors are just some of the workers that make use of hydraulics. Applications include elevators, bucket lifts, snow plows, marine and turf equipment, forestry tools and equipment, water dam mechanisms and waste management equipment.

Oilseed Innovation Partners creates new opportunities for Canadian oilseeds and the Canadian bioproducts sector. The organization receives funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.


For more information:

Jeff Schmalz, CEO, Oilseed Innovation Partners
519-826-6559 or