Much attention in the European Union (EU) is traditionally paid to the issue of recycling of waste of different origin. Waste petroleum oil is no exception. When released into the environment, it can cause the death of animals, contamination of ground and drinking water, as well as the violation of virtually all biological links in the “man-nature” system. The substances contained in waste oil can also cause cancer and development of various diseases in newborns.
Under the existing legislation, EU member states are obligated to take all possible measures in order to make the recycling of waste oils their top priority. However, not all countries are ready to adopt such rules of the game, so the question has been revised.
The implementation of Council Directive 75/469 EEC turned out to be not very successful in practice due to the absence of clear purposes of oil reclaiming. Setting these goals should definitely contribute to the introduction of the existing issue in the legislation of each individual country.
Economic difficulties also played a negative role in the process of implementation of the Directive. Among other things, the economic factors include: dynamics in crude oil prices, return on investments in refineries within a reasonable period of time, supply of waste oil for recycling. In practice, however, the biggest problem is still the reliability of waste material supplies for recycling.
Companies specializing in oil reclaiming have to fight for their feedstock with cement and limestone industry. The latter use waste oil as an energy source.
When viewed from the ecological point of view, the processing of waste oil has an extremely positive effect. First of all we are talking about a substantial reduction of the environment load due to the reduction of petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) primary production volumes. Waste materials restoration allows to satisfy the automotive industry demand for raw materials. The products of this industry must not contain large amounts of sulfur, phosphorus, and aromatics, as the Kyoto Protocol eloquently states.
Regeneration (oil reclaiming) and primary production
We have already noted that the main environmental impact of waste oil processing lies in reduction of volume of POL primary production. At the same time, oil reclaiming has the following positive effects:
- Reduces the depletion of natural resources;
- Reduces the accumulation of biogenic substances, which violate the decomposition of soil and water;
- Reduces the emission of carcinogenic substances and fine particles;
- Helps to slow down the development of the greenhouse effect.
Oil Reclaiming or incineration?
Very often, the environmental benefits of oil reclaiming are compared with incineration of waste materials in cement calcining furnaces. Let’s try to figure out which method is more effective in reality.
When thinking in terms of global warming, we should give preference to burning. This is due to the replacement of coal and petroleum coke as the primary fuel for furnaces. Coal and coke contain a sufficiently large amount of carbon and have a low calorific value. We should not forget that the choice of heat transfer agent depends not only on its performance characteristics, but also on existing prices in the world market. This does not exclude the possible replacement of gas, the combustion of which forms a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide, for waste materials in the future. In this case, oil reclaiming process will be a more preferable way of processing from the viewpoint of global warming.
GlobeCore Company is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of equipment for purification and reclaiming of waste oil. Its office is located in the city of Oldenburg (Germany), and its sales geography includes more than 70 countries.
The use of GlobeCore oil reclaiming technology allows to:
- Reduce the impact of waste oils on the environment in comparison with both primary production of fuels and lubricants, and incineration;
- Achieve the quality of recovered product, which will be virtually identical to the quality of raw materials, obtained from primary production.
GlobeCore waste oil reclaiming processes provide high energy efficiency, productivity and versatility. One oil reclaiming plant can handle several types of waste oil (power transformer, turbine, industrial, transmission, etc.), which makes its application more advantageous.
GlobeCore equipment eliminates the necessity to allocate production space for waste oil storage and to spend money on its disposal. Oil reclaiming in place of consumption is really the best solution!
Interesting facts about oil reclaiming:
- European oil reclaiming industry consists of 28 plants that process waste oil, and about 1,000-1,200 employees in the field of processing and 2000-2500 employees in the field of waste oil collection. 17 of these plants produce base oils. The industry has a total design capacity of 1,300,000 tons per year. Cumulative production of lubricating oil amounts to 400,000 tons per year and the production of other products, including fuel, asphalt, diesel, tar and so forth amounts to 500,000 tons. The total annual turnover is approximately EUR 200-250 million per year.
- Oil reclaiming industry is an important part of the European fuels and lubricants production market, which occupies 1/3 of the European market volume (1.5-2 million tonnes of POL). Recycling of waste oil plays an important role in creating a competition for major POL manufacturers, as well as maintaining operability of small independent companies betting on re-use of oil;
- European industry of oil reclaiming has received significant investment of about EUR 250 million to improve the quality of recycled oil, increase its efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Old systems are no longer functioning in Europe and processed oil quality is comparable to the original;
- The barriers to oil reclaiming development are closely connected with the supply of waste oil, which is often used as cheap fuel.