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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Interview: Why being green matters to Zaeto

T&FME talks to Nicholas Brooks about why Zaeto is looking beyond the UAE

The UAE is looking towards a more sustainable future and pushing environmental responsibility to the forefront of the minds of businesses and individuals in the country. Indeed, when it set-out its plans for Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE government placed sustainability at the very highest of its priorities for hosting the event. It also wants to focus on a more diverse economy, reducing its reliance on the oil sector by encouraging companies to help it achieve its goals.

Enter Zaeto, a UAE-based lubricant and grease manufacturer that believes that heavy equipment and vehicle users can go green without having to pay through the nose to do so.

Zaeto formally announced its introduction into the market last year with its lubrication and grease product range including, “but not limited to”, oil and gas, mining and excavation, road maintenance, marine, agriculture, military, aviation and others. CEO Nicholas Brooks maintains that for the UAE to meet its target of leading the world in sustainability and protection of the environment while achieving economic growth, it will need to use environmentally-friendly products in the development of the country.

While Brooks is sensibly keeping the ingredients of Zaeto’s products close to his chest, he is able to share that they use calcium sulfonate, a natural substance that has been used in lubrication since the Roman era, as part of its advanced formula. Unlike many other grease or lubricants, the products are the first to be produced in the region without any heavy metals or toxins. Feedback and data from customer trials and tests in the UAE, South Africa and Australia of the products have so far been impressive with some companies posting large drops in intervals and double-digit improvements to fuel economy.

Sitting down to talk to T&FME, he explains that 2018’s Year of Zayed celebrations of the UAE founder’s values and the promotion of the issue of sustainability as being dear to his heart, was the perfect opportunity the company needed to launch products, he claims, can have a positive impact to heavy-duty operations in the country.

“When I was talking to one of my local partners, he said now’s not the time but there is going to be The Year of Zayed in 2018…have a look at it, understand it. There was also this programme called the Innovation Program, which is all about strengthening the UAE’s position in developing products or businesses and taking them out to the world. I really liked that idea and so the idea formed to launch with the Year of Zayed as part of a product range and identity.”

He explains that Zaeto’s core values are centred around emissions, part protection and also fuel economy and with most fleets still running on Euro 3 or Euro 4 engines there are huge gains to be made, particularly through its additive D-Zel Aid which was specially-designed to make engines run better. Adding a small amount of D-Zel Aid, about 0.3ml per litre, can make a difference. According to Brooks D-Zel Aid is suitable for almost all diesel vehicle types, especially Euro 3 and Euro 4 stage vehicles, where emissions are “not buffered by” DPF, EGR or SCR systems.

“It’s all about reducing NOx and also soot. Typically, when you reduce one, the other increases. So that’s why we now have all these fancy bits and pieces on Euro 5 and 6 engines. But we’ve been in salt mines, we can work in sandy conditions, we can work in the desert of Australia where a lot of the products are tested before they were tested here and also the desert states of the US.”

He continues: “If you look at us on a chart, and do hot and cold on one axis and then on the other axis super clean/salty and dirty we can fit any business inside that area.”
As we talk, it becomes clear that Brooks is genuinely determined to reduce the effect of pollutants in the UAE. He says that his concerns about the damage we are causing to the environment stems back from his upbringing on a remote farm in Australia.

“I grew up in a family that was very focused on sustainability especially being a farming family. Water was a strong resource. And having asthma, I was always worried about what sort of smoke and soot was in the air,” he tells T&FME, before adding that the focus on CO2 emissions has stopped many people recognising the damage caused by other chemicals, such as NOx streaming from engines.

“If you’ve got NOx being produced from countries or cities nearby it’s coming across and directly affecting your food crops. So, this is not just about me talking about engines and saying how we should use my product and I’ll benefit financially from it. We’re more talking about the downstream effects,” he says passionately. “If there’s NOx, there’s ozone, if there’s ozone then there’s problems with plants because plants can’t process it. They process CO2, they don’t process NOx. Therefore they get affected and therefore their production is reduced and the growth is reduced therefore you don’t have those food crops and therefore we’ve now got a problem around food shortage.”

In a crowded and competitive market being able to prove your credentials is vital but fortunately for Brooks and Zaeto companies are beginning to come forward and allowing their results to be published. Leading UAE environment solutions provider Dulsco has seen a 12-14% improvement in the fuel economy of its buses, for instance, but Brooks realises that independent testing is essential to rubber stamp the improvements to performance. Fortunately, that is coming through too.

“Bryan Gener from the Automobile & Touring Club UAE has been doing our independent gas analysis work,” he explains. “These guys are really focused on improving gas emission standards in the UAE and are accredited to do a range of registration vehicles testing. They recently became a government-linked company, which adds additional validity to the results.”

Brooks also cites the example of Emirates Leisure Retail (ELR) and Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI) whose Warehouse & Distribution Manager Jason O’Keefe, has posted some positive figures from using D-ZEL Aid and the Treatment Range. ELR & MMI’s fleet of Mitsubishi Fuso ‘Canter’ Trucks are currently running Euro 3 or Euro 4. With no DPF, SCR, EGR units fitted as standard and therefore no REGEN, Diesel Emission Fluid/’Ad Blue’ costs/concerns, O’Keefe has seen a reduction of NOx between 20-30%. The vehicles are also running cleaner as there is reduced soot and ultimately producing 8-10% average fuel savings on the trial vehicles over base vehicles.

Brooks adds that the figures would be even greater for Euro 5 and higher emission standard engines: “In the other markets like the UK, Europe and the US they would gain additional savings from the improvements. Waiting/idle time for these vehicles can be a few hours a day, and thus the production of increased volumes of soot. This directly relates to clogging DPF units and REGEN issues. Fixing this normally could mean 20L of wasted fuel and more downtime.”

Returning to the UAE, he says a consistent increase in diesel fuel prices is placing pressure on businesses and forcing them to finally take the running costs of their equipment and vehicles seriously.

“Since 2016, the fuel price has doubled. It was 1.35 AED per litre in May 2016 and it’s now 2.87 AED,” he remarks. He believes Zaeto can make a provable difference to the uptime and costs of operations in the market. If companies are not concerned about their environmental impact they certainly are increasingly worried about the sustainability of their businesses.

“When we first started doing research and talking about the potential for our products six years ago, no one was concerned about emissions. No one was concerned about fuel price. No one was concerned about machine parts because we were all making money so you just bought another piece of equipment when you needed to and didn’t bother getting it fixed.”
He claims Zaeto’s products contain a specially-designed ingredient than means they are uniquely designed to reduce the wear and tear inside engines, equipment and vehicles:

“That ingredient is in our entire range. Basically, once it heats up to 52 degrees it binds into the metal to about three to five microns and it protects that surface from abrasion,” he explains.

Brooks adds that to prove its effectiveness it conducts pin tests that compare Zaeto’s products with other oils a client is using to show the difference between the two.

“You’re trying to replicate a lot of friction. After a while its oil will hold the metal heat and then weld together. What we then do is get another block and another pin and add our treatment in with that same oil and then run that test again at double the pressure. We normally put it at 100PSI for the normal oil and 200PSI for us and then usually after about three to five minutes we both get bored,” he jokes. “What we’re saying is: we’re not there when the oil or grease is there. We’re there when it’s not. Obviously, if you got sandpaper out, you’d be able to scratch it all off but it’s the protection that you have if you lose all your oil or between greasing cycles.”

Almost a year on from its launch, Zaeto is beginning to make in-roads into the local market but Brooks says that the long-term goal is to fulfil its role as an exporting UAE company.

“The goal of myself and my partners is to get these products outside the UAE; such as Jordan and South Africa, where fuel costs are even higher. In Europe I can show even larger savings because you’ve got truck companies with vehicles that are stop-starting on runs. Sure, they are producing next to nothing in terms of NOx because the engines never heat up properly but they’re producing a ton of carbon and soot. So, their DPF filter is getting clogged up and they’re probably going through regen once every second day; which is costing them anything between 20 and 30 litres of fuel and 20 to 40 minutes off the road. And when we talk about fuel savings, that’s just emptying 20 litres down the drain.”
As we talk about his clear excitement for growing Zaeto, T&FME asks whether that is compatible with the goals of offering a greener way of running a fleet to as many people as possible? Brooks, however, is keeping his head clear as to where his priorities lie: “I could offer this for more money, but I won’t,” he says firmly. “I’m talking about the environment and what we’re setting up for the next generation. Nothing is more important than that.”

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Stephen Whitehttps://truckandfleetme.com/
Stephen White was formerly editor of Big Project ME.
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