Turbine lube to manage varnish build-up

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Petro-Canada Lubricants, a Suncor business, recently launched Turboflo Low Varnish (LV), a new turbine fluid proven to resist varnish and sludge build-up. By minimizing harmful accumulation, it is said to optimize equipment performance and reliability, while also preventing costly downtime for removal.

Gas turbines that have a common turbine and hydraulic reservoir, operate at extremely high temperatures with intermittent starts and stops, which can accelerate oxidation. This is the leading cause of varnish formation and deposition, and thermal degradation of the turbine fluid. Turboflo LV helps improve fluid and equipment performance.

Performance Testing

After six years of field testing in two GE Frame 7 FA units with peaking service, the Turboflo LV prototype fluid is said to remain in excellent condition and resisting excessive degradation with little or no varnish deposition.


In the Turbine Oil Stability Test – TOST (ASTM D943), Turboflo LV achieves greater than 10,000+ hours, above industry standards and OEM specifications of 2,000 to 5,000 hours.

According to a harsh, high temperature Panel Coker Test, Turboflo LV showed the best performance in minimizing varnish build-up versus the leading global competitors in the benchmark study. Demonstrating superior resistance to oxidation, Turboflo LV has the highest Pressure Differential Scanning Calorimetry – PDSC (ASTM D6186) result with the longest Oxidation Induction Time (OIT), when tested against leading turbine fluids.

In the Air Release Test (ASTM D3427), a leading indicator of oxidation resistance, Turboflo LV has good results. Its air release was well below the four- to seven-minute maximum, the accepted industry standard. This rapid air release reduces the amount of entrained air being sent to bearings and critical hydraulic control elements, which could cause film strength failure problems, loss of system control, and increased oxidation.