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A Q&A with Gary Lackore, MidContinental Chemical Company

Hybrids make a tremendous amount of sense in any transition to electrification. MCC provides a full range of fuel additives, from gasoline and diesel multifunctional additive packages to specialty areas like cold flow and jet fuel icing inhibitor. Drawing on your background, do the internal combustion engines that support this technology have special requirements?

While the internal combustion engines (ICEs) in hybrids do not have any special requirements, it is extremely critical that they operate at a high level of efficiency, just as it is for non-hybrids. The hybrid vehicle customer experience will be based on both power platforms, yet the ICE will be counted on to deliver performance regardless of the EV capability. As such, the ICE will not be used 100% of the time; therefore, the time-sharing of both power systems could impact the cleanliness and readiness of the ICE to perform.

To make sure that the ICE is ready to perform when called upon, use of TOP TIER gasoline or a quality aftermarket total fuel system cleaner is recommended. Using gasoline containing higher detergent content or using a quality aftermarket detergent additive is important in keeping the fuel injection system of the ICE working properly to get the best performance and fuel economy.

 

Is the fuel performance aspect of this technology transition fully appreciated at this stage?

It is important to consider that optimum engine performance needs to be realized more so in a hybrid application than with others. Why? Today’s ICEs, especially in hybrids, are most likely reduced in size (cubic inches or CCs) and have a turbocharger (mechanically boosting engine output), and the displacement is asked to power a heavier vehicle because of the battery. The optimized performance of the ICE is critical to overall performance, engine durability and drivability. An engine that has a fuel system or fuel injectors that are not operating efficiently will use more gasoline, emit higher emissions, produce less power and lose fuel economy.

 

To build on current trends, formerly conventional fuels will increasingly become bio/renewable blends. What role do additives play in these products?

Additives will continue to play a vital role in fuel system and fuel system component cleanliness of all ICEs. Renewable fuels and biofuels will inherently be contributors to deposit formation causing power loss. This power loss is realized via drivability.

 

Hybrid technologies are not as beneficial to diesel vehicles, but diesel will be supporting commercial transportation for many years. These engines will increasingly be cleaner and more efficient, but at the same time more demanding on fuel quality. How does additization help their performance?

Although there are some diesel hybrid vehicles being produced, this technology is not a good fit for many diesel vehicle applications. Advanced technology, both in hardware design and fuel systems, will create an environment for increased performance and improved fuel quality. These advancements make it even more critical for the engine to operate at the optimum performance level. The fuel system is integral to engine performance. There are improvements in diesel engine performance that can be achieved with additives such as detergents, lubricity improvers, cetane improvers, etc.

 

One of MCC’s stated goals is to help grow its customers’ business and build customer loyalty by delivering differentiated products to their customers. With that in mind, how can marketers and retailers maximize on these opportunities with additives?

The basic “rack fuels” will continue to be valued by the consumer … price is price, right? However, high-value (should we say performance rather than high-value?) fuels are a means of differentiating your brand and the value associated with it. The fuels category is another area in which your brand has meaning and definition to your customers. Marketers and retailers have the opportunity to additize both retail and commercial fuels with performance enhancing additives in which their customers will find value.

 

Gary Lackore is the national sales manager at MidContinental Chemical Company, Inc. MCC was established in 1994 andmanufactures and distributes petroleum additives that enhance the performance of fuels and lubricating oils in vehicles, equipment and machinery. MCC provides comprehensive additive solutions and services to the lubricant and fuel industries.  www.mcchemical.com