Global impact of friction on energy consumption, economy and environment

Kenneth Holmberg, A. Erdemir

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    94 Citations (Scopus)


    Worldwide about 100 million terajoule is used annually to overcome friction and that is one fifth of all energy produced. The largest quantities of energy are used by industry (29 %) and in transportation (27 %). Based on our recent studies on energy use in passenger cars, trucks and buses, we concluded that it is possible to save as much as 17.5 % of the energy use in road transports in the short term (5 - 9 years) by effective implementation of new tribological solutions. This equals to annual energy savings of 11.6 exajoules, fuel savings of 330 billion litres and reduction in CO2 emission by 860 million tonnes. In a paper mill, 15 - 25 % of the energy used is spent to overcome friction. The electrical energy used by a paper machine is distributed as 32 % to overcome friction, 36 % for the paper production and mass transportation, and 32 % is other losses. In paper machines, 11 % of the total energy used to overcome friction can be saved by the implementation of new tribological technologies. An overview of the total energy saving potential globally by improved tribological solutions is presented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-185
    JournalFME Transactions
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • energy
    • friction
    • lubrication
    • transportation


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