Exclusive Interview with George Zhang, Valvoline

Lubricant Expo North America had the pleasure of interviewing conference speaker George Zhang, Vice President of R&D at Valvoline Global. We discussed his role, the trends and challenges driving the Lubricants Sector, and the upcoming show.


Can you tell us about your role at Valvoline Global? What excites you / keeps you up at night?

Currently I am the Vice President of R&D in Valvoline Global, mainly responsible for, and focusing on, R&D innovations to support new business initiatives. I am excited about expanding our core R&D capabilities into areas where Valvoline Global has not focused on in the part. Meanwhile, I am concerned about the fast pace of changes to the industry (and to society as a whole), especially those as the result of rapid development of electrification and AI.


You are part of our opening session: Future Proofing the Lubricants Sector. What are the top three trends or challenges driving the sector at present?

Electrification and how we can be enablers.

Sustainability and how we can grow the business in a responsible way.

New Innovation: whether it is product, marketing, or supply chain – in order to create value for our customers and consumers.


What opportunities and challenges does the energy transition and electrification of the automotive sector present to lubricant industry?

 The immediate challenge is that volume of motor oils (which has been the frequency driver to automotive aftermarket) may be reaching a peak and then decrease. However, there are still a lot more the lubricant industry can do to help improve the efficiency, safety and overall user experiences.


 What are you most looking forward to at the show?

 I am looking forward to meeting with friends, colleagues and industry partners face to face (instead of via Teams or Zoom). I am hoping to see new and innovative ideas in this century old industry, especially any out-of-the-box type innovations.  I am especially interested in new component chemistry and supply chain innovations.