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How well does your lubricant withstand the harsh conditions of carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigeration systems?

March 01, 2021

Refrigeration oil selection is key to ensure long-term compressor protection and to maximize system operational efficiency in any refrigeration application.  For CO applications, the extreme conditions require wax-free synthetic lubricants. 

While several synthetic base oil solutions are available, polyol ester (POE) based products are frequently the chosen solution because they have the advantage of superior miscibility with CO2.  The major concern with POE-based lubricants, though, is that they are highly hygroscopic: They absorb moisture from their surroundings. 

Water in any amount can be detrimental to a closed loop CO2 system, causing issues such as:

  • Operational efficiency losses
  • Valve damage or operational failure due to ice formation
  • Excessive water can lead to lubricant hydrolysis, breaking down the POE oil and forming highly corrosive carbonic acid

So, what’s the solution?  In a perfect scenario, a system would be free of all contaminants including moisture, but this simply isn’t realistic.  “While important to minimize the amount of moisture that starts in your POE lubricant, the moment you open the container, POE lubricants begin absorbing moisture from the surrounding atmosphere,” said Paige Holder, Summit’s market manager for refrigeration lubricants. 

“Regardless of whether absorption of water occurs before, during or after installation, the lubricant must be designed to resist chemical reaction with water that it comes in contact with.”

That’s why Summit has designed the RPE-744 Series. It’s a fully synthetic POE lubricant formulated to withstand the harsh environment of CO2 application and resist chemical reaction and degradation in the presence of water and other contaminants.

The RPE-744 Series provides:

  • Excellent overall wear protection
  • Superior Chemical, Thermal and Hydrolytic Stability
  • Corrosion protection of all common system metal materials of construction
  • Long-lasting system efficiency

Contact us today to find out more about Summit RPE-744 Series or to ask our experts how our high-quality lubricants can help solve your refrigeration compressor problems.


ISO 9001

Summit first received its ISO 9001 certification in January of 1996, demonstrating a commitment to quality assurance and performance monitoring. ISO 9001 certification is an international quality standard that addresses a comprehensive list of business elements, including management responsibility, order processing, purchasing, process control, traceability, handling of non-conforming product, and internal auditing. Our present ISO 9001 certification is proof of our continuing quality commitment to our customers.


ISO 14001

Summit is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of our employees, customers and communities where we work and live. We recognize that through integrating sound environmental health, and safety management practices into all aspects of our business ... we can offer innovative products and services while conserving and enhancing resources for future generations.


NSF ISO 21469

ISO 21469 specifies hygiene requirements for the formulation, manufacture, use and handling of lubricants, which may come into contact with products during manufacturing or processing. The international standard applies to lubricants intended for use in food production, as well as cosmetic, pharmaceutical and animal feed industries. NSF ISO 21469 Certification by an independent, third party provides Summit with a means to obtain international acceptance for their products. 

You can see a list of Summit’s ISO 21469 certified products by clicking here.