Ingevity insight: Pioneering sustainable solutions with DTO

Apr 14, 2020
Scott Cheng
Scott Cheng, Commercial Global Technical Lead, Lubricants

Our first Ingevity Insight article features an interview with Commercial Global Technical Lead Scott Cheng in which he shares his thoughts on sustainability’s impact on the metalworking fluid (MWF) world and how distilled tall oil (DTO) is an effective co-emulsifier solution for eco-conscious customers.


  1. Sustainability is an important topic for virtually every industry. What are you hearing from your MWF customers about the topic of sustainability, and how manufacturers play a role in sustainability?

The industry’s evolving environmental trends and regulatory requirements continue to underscore the importance of sustainability for all players in the lubricants value chain. In an effort to support our customers and the environment, Ingevity’s technical team maintains an ongoing commitment to finding innovative ways to increase the bio-renewable content in the MWF products we offer to the marketplace.

Many of the industry’s raw material and end-product suppliers have also incorporated sustainability teams into their operations, which are dedicated to driving more eco-conscious processes not only into manufacturing and production but across the entire organization. Ingevity’s sustainability team is committed to integrating responsible economic, environmental and social principles into our global business strategy and decision making, and ensuring we subscribe fully to the Guiding Principles of the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® program as we do our part to help the industry operate safely and profitably for future generations.

Annually, we publish updates to our sustainability report. Ingevity’s most recent publication reports that almost 80% of the raw materials used in the manufacturing of our products are renewable and do not compete with the food chain or contribute to deforestation. We consider sustainable products to be those that provide benefits beyond industry standards and continue to look at ways to reduce energy and water consumption, waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution, as well as increase the recyclability and durability of our products.


  1. Explain the barriers of sustainability to formulators.

Today’s MWF formulators must balance the use of high performing, premium products with the alignment of their company’s overall sustainability mission. Since performance is the number one requirement for formulators, they may struggle with finding sustainable options that perform the same as traditional chemically derived additives.

Historically, most MWF additives were derived from petroleum or other chemical sources, including phosphate, sulfur and chlorinated paraffin. With a high manufacturing carbon footprint, the surplus use of these traditional additives in MWF formulations led to a negative impact on the environment.

As industry regulations become more stringent, formulators are considering how to formulate in a safe and efficient manner for their customers, while reducing waste and potential health problems for operators. During operation, chemicals can mist and are easily inhalable by operators. Certain chemistries, such as rosin composition, can help stabilize the system and protect workers during the application process.


  1. How does Ingevity play a role with providing sustainable specialty additives for MWFs, specifically in the realm of emulsifiers?

As one of the world’s leading pine-based chemistry providers, Ingevity developed Altapyne®, a portfolio of DTO products made exclusively from renewable resources. DTO is a sustainable material made from the pine tree and is commonly used as a co-emulsifier in soluble oil and semisynthetic metalworking formulations. It’s comprised of rosin acids and fatty acids with typical rosin acid ranges of 15-50%, depending on application.

As the world’s largest producer of DTO, Ingevity provides consistent product offerings that optimize MWFs (shown in Table 1 below). Compared to the toxic nature of conventional petroleum-derived co-emulsifiers, Altapyne offers better hard water emulsification and stability, while providing higher levels of safety and biodegradability.

Table 1. Ingevity DTO product offerings


  1. What importance does bio-renewable content play in products?

Derived straight from the environment, bio-renewable products correlate directly with sustainability. Ingevity DTOs are 100% bio-based products, meaning they’re readily bio-degradable and provide no negative effects on the environment during waste treatment. In a world with increasingly stringent chemical regulations, bio-renewable products also provide advantages for various global certifications including the USDA BioPreferred Program and ACC’s Responsible Care.

Ingevity offers an assortment of bio-based MWF additives with various degrees of biodegradability (see Table 2 below).

Table 2. Biodegradability levels of Ingevity MWF additives

Product Test Result
DTO OECD 301F Ready Biodegradability Manometric Respirometry Test 73.2% Readily, 28 Days
Diacid 1550 OECD 301D Ready Biodegradability Closed Bottle Test 63% Readily, 28 Days
Tall Oil Fatty Acid (TOFA) OECD 301D Ready Biodegradability Closed Bottle Test 80.03 % Readily, 28 Days


  1. What sort of performance is expected with the use of Ingevity DTO?

Ingevity DTO is a unique co-emulsifier that serves as a multifunctional additive in MWF formulations. Adding DTO to your metalworking formulation could potentially provide:

  • Improved emulsion stability – Effective co-emulsification properties stabilize your formulation for longer, extending the life of your MWF
  • Reduced foam – Unique rosin chemistry inhibits foam and enables easier formulation
  • Lower formulation costs – High performance means fewer surfactants and co-emulsifiers are needed
  • Increased biodegradability – Renewably sourced materials improve your environmental footprint


  1. How does Ingevity’s DTO products compare to other industry standard co-emulsifiers?

Compared to generic co-emulsifiers, the multifunctional properties of Ingevity’s DTO could simplify formulations. The use of other other additives, such as co-emulsifiers, coupling agents and surfactants, could potentially be reduced by replacing them with Ingevity’s DTO. Formulators can improve performance while increasing the concentration of green raw materials.

If you have questions or comments regarding our DTO portfolio or other specialty additives, contact us at  [email protected] or visit our website. Technical assistance is provided for optimization of MWF formulations utilizing Ingevity’s products.

Have additional topics or questions you’d like us to include in an upcoming Ingevity Insights article? Send us an email and we will consider featuring the idea next quarter!