Tricks and Traps of Oil Reclamation and Oil Recycling
Ecological conservation and environmental concerns have become a much greater influence in production facilities around the world in recent years. Progressive action can also be found in the heart of major industrial operations such as steel mills, paper mills, sugar mills and process plants. Conservation, reclamation and recycling of used lube oil can be a profitable and ecologically sound activity.
The engineering or technical manager of a large plant is often so busy managing production and ensuring optimal production with minimal downtime, that little attention is paid to the total lubricant cycle in the plant. After all, the plant’s purchasing department looks for the lowest priced lube oil and the handling/storage department ensures that all drained lube oil is disposed of via a waste removal company.
Various local, state and federal authorities have set regulations for the handling and disposal of used lube oil. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also issued its own used oil management standards, and state regulatory authorities are required to implement them.
Lube oil reclamation regulations shouldn’t force a company to implement change. There are a number of financial reasons, including selling used lube oil for recycling into fuel oil and base oil stocks or for certain charges of lube oil to be reclaimed in-plant.
Reclaiming oil accomplishes the following:
· Conserves a valuable resource.
· Prevents contamination of the environment.
· Saves money by reducing waste disposal costs.
· Reduces long-term liability for disposed products - from beginning to end.
Reclamation treats a charge of lube oil, preferably on-site, and returns the charge to the machine sump. An example of this is reclamation of transformer oil, hydraulic oil and turbine oil. Reclamation may take place off-site where the vendor of the reclamation service drains the existing charge and replaces it with previously reclaimed oil. Reclamation generally involves cleaning, drying and perhaps adsorption to remove color, acids and sludge. The reclaiming of a lube oil is essentially a nonchemical process that restores in-service lube oil for reuse in a system.
Every lube oil charge eventually reaches the end of its life and has to be drained from the machine system, whether it is engine, gearbox, hydraulic system or turbine. Oil that is recycled could be rerefined to new base oil or treated and sold as fuel oil.