A comparative life cycle assessment of petroleum and soybean-based lubricants

Shelie A. Miller, Amy E. Landis, Thomas L. Theis, Ronald A. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A comparative life cycle assessment examining soybean and petroleum-based lubricants is compiled using Monte Carlo analysis to assess system variability. Experimental data obtained from an aluminum manufacturing facility indicate significantly less soybean lubricant is required to achieve similar or superior performance. With improved performance and a lower use rate, a transition to soybean oil results in lower aggregate impacts of acidification, smog formation, and human health from criteria pollutants. Regardless of quantity consumed, soybean-based lubricants exhibit significant climate change and fossil fuel use benefits; however, eutrophication impacts are much greater due to non-point nutrient emissions. Fundamental tradeoffs in the carbon and nitrogen cycles are addressed in the analysis, demonstrating that a transition to soybean oil may result in climate change benefits at the expense of regional water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4143-4149
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparative life cycle assessment of petroleum and soybean-based lubricants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this