New oil category planned for 2016 engines

Updated Feb 10, 2012

Development is under way on creating new heavy-duty engine oils that will be used in truck engines to debut in January 2016.

A new oil category dubbed PC-11, or Proposed Category 11, will be developed to help engine manufacturers meet federal standards for 2014-2018 model year trucks covering improved fuel economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, said Dan Arcy, global OEM technical manager for Shell Oil Solutions. Arcy is leading a team of oil industry technicians who will specify tests and standards for the new category, which was requested by the Engine Manufacturers Association.

The new category, first in the industry since CJ-4 was introduced in 2006, will actually include two subcategories, or separate oils, said Arcy, who presented information on the oil program Feb. 9 at a press event in Park City, Utah. One will preserve heavier oil, which is common in the industry now. The other will be a thinner oil better adapted to enhancing fuel economy while preserving durability.

“One of the levers manufacturers can pull in meeting [engine] requirements is use of low viscosity, or fuel economy, type of engine oils,” Arcy said.

Oil industry technicians will spend the next four years specifying standards to be ready for licensing by January 2016. Tests for the new oils will make sure they are durable and resist engine breakdown, whileincreasing fuel efficiency.

In addition to the two types of oils, Arcy said engine manufacturers requested improvements in oil properties such as:

  • Stability against shearing of oil molecules
  • Oxidation stability
  • Compatibility with biodiesel fuels
  • Limiting wear of engine parts from scuffing and adhesion, and
  • Restricting aeration, or air in oil.

Since 1994, Arcy said, the industry has done a good job of creating oils that sharply reduced nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. The future will be to concentrate on greenhouse gas emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Lighter viscosity oil, such as one of the oils to be part of PC-11, yields better fuel economy, said Matt Urbanak, a researcher for Shell’s Rotella brand of oils. He added there isn’t a current fuel economy test for heavy-duty oils.