ESR Technology and Partners to Develop Ionic Liquids for Vacuum Fluid Lubricants

ESR Technology is delighted to announce the kickoff of a project to develop new vacuum fluid lubricants based upon ionic liquids. This collaborative effort, funded by the European Space Agency, aims to develop highly durable and environmentally responsible IL-based lubricants, designed to outperform existing commercially available options, such as perfluoropolyether (PFPE) and multiple alkylated cyclopentane (MAC) lubricants.

 Ionic Liquids (ILs) are fluids consisting of organic salts, known for their extremely low vapour pressures, and a high resistance against temperature and thermo-oxidation. Various publications and past work, including those previously performed by ESR Technology, have also outlined their outstanding tribological properties under vacuum. Taken together, these strengths support ILs as ideal candidates for highly durable and low-outgassing lubricant formulations of the future.

 The project carries with it an additional advantage: the potential to create PFAS-free lubricants. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have long been a concern due to their environmental persistence and potential health risks, and the upcoming EU regulations on the use of these materials may have a significant impact on the availability of several of the current generation of vacuum lubricants. The development of PFAS-free lubricants underscores a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, aligning with global efforts to mitigate the environmental impact of industrial processes.

 Together with our partners Materiales GmbH (providing project management and formulation development) and IPM (specialists in electrochemical corrosion analysis), ESR Technology will provide our comprehensive understanding of lubricant behaviours in the harsh environment of vacuum, and specialist tribological assessments of the developed fluids.

 For more information, either on this subject or more generally on how the European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL) can help you with your vacuum tribology concerns, please contact ESTL Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Principal Project Scientist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Degraded fluid lubricant on the Spiral Orbit Tribometer


ESR Technology to exhibit and present at Hazards33

ESR are pleased to announce that we will be attending this year’s IChemE Hazards33 conference which takes place between the 7 - 9 November at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham. As well as sponsoring the event we will be exhibiting and also presenting two technical papers.

Luke Butcher (ESR) and Graeme Cook (AECOM) will deliver a joint presentation on the technical and safety challenges of switching from natural gas to hydrogen as a fuel, covering recent site assessments completed for seven industrial sites, spanning different industries, sizes and complexities. The common safety challenges faced due to handling hydrogen will be discussed, along with recommendations for addressing these challenges such as the need for enhanced safety protocols and worker training.

Richard Tiffin will also be exhibiting a poster on how the tried and tested techniques of risk assessment from traditional major hazard industries can be applied to new low carbon technologies within the energy sector. The poster will give practical examples of how the evidence provided by these assessment techniques can be used to support planning approval, and assure stakeholders, regulators, and investors that the design is ALARP.

ESR is looking forward to Hazards 33 as it provides an opportunity to make new connections and to share our latest research and developments with the wider Process Safety Sector – see you there!
Please see our presentation details below.



Title: Hydrogen as a Fuel for Industry: Technical and Safety Challenges

Presenters: Luke Butcher (ESR) & Graeme Cook (AECOM)

Session: Hydrogen Hazards

Date & Time: Tuesday 7 November 2023 16:15 – 16:45 GMT

Future of hydrogen in industry: ESR Technology’s Contribution

ESR Technology, a leading provider of safety and risk management services, has contributed to a pioneering study on the potential of hydrogen as a low-carbon source of energy for industrial sites alongside project partner AECOM. The study, commissioned by the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (now Department for Energy Security and Net Zero), assessed the safety, feasibility, cost and impacts of switching from natural gas to 100% hydrogen for seven volunteer industrial sites across the UK.


Why Hydrogen for Industry?

Hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel that produces only water vapour when combusted. It can be used to replace natural gas in industrial processes that require high temperatures, such as smelting, aggregate drying, and food manufacturing where alternative green energy sources can be impractical to implement.

However, hydrogen also poses some challenges and risks, such as flammability, explosivity and its compatibility with existing infrastructure and equipment. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a rigorous safety and risk assessment before implementing hydrogen as an energy source for industrial sites.


How ESR Technology Helped

ESR Technology supported project partner AECOM by providing expertise in hydrogen safety and risk analysis. ESR Technology conducted site visits, interviews, data collection, and consequence modelling to understand the risk implications of a future switch to hydrogen as a fuel. The study’s findings will inform strategic decisions on the future role of hydrogen in decarbonising the gas grid. ESR Technology is proud to be part of this innovative project and to share its insights with other industrial sites and wider industry.


Learn More

To learn more about the study and ESR Technology’s involvement, download the summary report here: Future of hydrogen in industry: initial industrial site surveys - GOV.UK (

Unlock the Secrets of Space Tribology and Bearing Analysis: Register for Our Upcoming Training Courses!

The European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL) is excited to announce our upcoming tribology courses, set to take place in the days prior to the prestigious European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium (ESMATS) taking place in Warsaw, Poland, this September.

The Space Tribology Course (18th – 19th Sept) is a dedicated training course that leverages experimental data from Europe's longest-running independent centre of excellence for space tribology, boasting over 50 years of experience. Presented in-person, this comprehensive course covers crucial aspects related to friction, lubrication, and wear of spacecraft mechanisms. The agenda includes five key parts:

  • Fundamentals of Tribology: Introducing tribological concepts and special considerations for space and vacuum environments.
  • Lubrication of Spacecraft Components: Covering selection of lubricant types, solid lubrication coatings and materials, as well as fluid lubricants and their performance.
  • Tribo-component Selection, Design, and Performance: Providing an overview of different types of tribo-components and main material categories used in spacecraft applications, with a focus on ball bearings for space.
  • Handling and Testing Tribo-components: Delving into the practical aspects of handling, preloading, and testing bearings and mechanisms.
  • ESR Technology (ESTL) Case Histories and Lessons Learned: Sharing valuable insights and lessons learned from various space programs.

Additionally, and for the first time since the introduction of CABARET v3, in 2021, ESTL is offering a specialised training course for CABARET Users (11th – 12th Sept, PM only). Aimed at mechanisms engineers, this interactive online course will focus on mastering the software-enabled workflows of bearing analysis for space mechanism design. The four sessions will include

  • Introduction to CABARET: Familiarizing participants with the software and its features, enabling them to run analyses, build assemblies, and collect results autonomously.
  • Quasi-Static Analysis: Training common workflows involved in margin calculations, stresses, truncation, gapping, stiffness, preload (hard and soft), and inverse analysis.
  • Torque/Power Analysis: Teaching the use of torque estimations, fluid lubricant properties, thermal matrix, lubrication regime analyses, and lubricant selection trade-offs.
  • Working with the Bearing Sizing Guideline: Application of the guideline in initial bearing selection and PDR/CDR level designs using the software.

More information about the course and registration details can be found at the ESMATS web site

ESR Technology sponsors Hazards 33 Conference

ESR Technology is delighted to confirm our continuing Silver Sponsorship of the forthcoming IChemE Hazards 33 Conference on 7-9 November 2023 in Birmingham.

ESR Technology has supported this prestigious conference since its inception, exhibiting and presenting technical papers on a wide range of important topics from Gas Dispersion modelling work, to research on Ageing Plant and developing clear ALARP justifications for continued plant operation. Most recently we have presented papers on Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide modelling in support of Energy Transition projects, explosion modelling in Vent systems, impacted jet modelling, Fire & Gas Mapping and Linking Critical Competencies to Major Accident Hazards using Bow Ties.

We are proud of our long-term support to this important industry conference and are delighted to confirm our attendance at Hazards 33. We look forward to welcoming colleagues old and new on our exhibition stand.

For further information please contact Terry Atkinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or


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