A Travellerspoint blog



First of all it is necessary to mention that oil, used in different industries is usually a special formulation made to meet the needs of that particular industry. To gain a better understanding of the regeneration process, one should understand that to meet the needs of a particular industry, base oil is mixed with additives that improve its lubricating properties.

Very often, people confuse such terms as “oil reclamation” and “oil recycling,” so it is important to point out the the difference between them.

Among dangerous wastes to be recycled, transformer oils requires a special attention.

Transformer oil cools down the parts of transformers, switchgears and reactors heated by electrical current. The only requirements for transformer oil – is to be clean. It means an absence of impurities and water that can affect its dielectric properties.

Being properly serviced, with regular purification and removing of deterioration products, insulating liquids can then serve for many years. Electric power companies try to minimize the amount of waste product, using separation, filtration, centrifugation, sulfuric acid treatment, absorbent purification treatments of oil.

But sooner or later transformer oil loses its service characteristics, caused by the accumulation of oxidation products, contaminants and other elements.

Used transformer oil must be recycled because it does not meet technical requirements and endangers the environment. Non-recycled used oil can contaminate huge amounts of water, having a negative impact on the entire ecosystem. If ignition occurs, the waste materials emit many life threatening substances into the atmosphere, which is another strong argument for the need of oil recycling.

Today, the most frequently used methods of oil recovering are recycling, incineration and oil reclamation. A simple comparison of these approaches shows that oil reclamation is the most effective solution for used transformer oil recycling.

Recycling is the process of manufacturing new products from the materials that have already been used for some possibly non-related purpose. A good example is the oil that is no longer able to perform its functions and it can be applied in other industries that require lower performance characteristics of the oil.

Oil recycling is a stage-by-stage purification of transformer oil: removal of mechanical impurities and water, evaporation, absorbent purification. The output is the oil with parameters and properties of fresh product. The yield of recovered fluid is 80-90%. This process is usually cheaper than refining and incineration. Refining crude oil consumes 3 times more energy than reclamation of used oil. Obtaining 1 gallon of high quality lube oil requires 67 gallons of crude oil, and only 1.6 gallons of used oil.

There are however, cases when it makes no economic sense to reclaim oil that is contaminated with chemical substances or it is a mixture of different kinds oils. In that case, they are recycled and put back to useful service by re-refining, removing exhausted additives and adding new ones.

Very often blown oils or used oils are mixed and used for marine purposes such as bunker oil. From an economic point of view, such oils cannot be fractionated or rendered useful again for the same original purpose. For those reasons, it does make economic sense first to reclaim used oils before they are recycled.

Transfotmer Oil Reclamation

This article therefore, will focus mainly on the oil reclamation/regeneration process. Oil Reclamation / Regeneration is the process of restoring the oil’s performance characteristics to its original new like condition. In other words, reclamation allows used oil to be used over and over againt without the need for disposal. Normally oil reclamation is performed onsite to prevent possible risks of contamination during transportation to special oil refineries.

What oils can be reclaimed? For example, it may be oils contaminated with foreign particles and with a high moisture content that are successfully removed during the reclamation process. Additionally, with regard to the oil formulation, refortification of the oil may be required to reintroduce an additive package to the oils. After reclamation, processed oil is defined as “like new” and can be placed back into service again.

Both producers and users of fluids can benefit from oil reclamation. For the most part, companies, involved in the oil reclamation business require an oil sample to determine the type of contaminants and chemical substances present in the oil. In most cases, such oil companies are able to remove not only water, but other types of contaminants. It is recommended to contact the producers of industrial oils and fluids to get specific information on the oil and/or fluid you are using. If the results of the oil testing show that oil is reclaimable, then it should be reclaimed raher than disposed of and replaced.

Normally, the performance characteristics of oils can degrade under the influence of many different factors. As a rule, it is not always proper to attempt to reclaim oil that has been left in the equipment for a long period of time since it can may have become badly oxidized. In the case of spillages however, oil may have become mixed with dirt and water and can still be cleaned and reclaimed.

After oils samples are tested and it is established to be reclaimable, then it should be delivered to companies engaged in the oil reclamation business. If you want the oil to be restored to ‘like new’ condition, then you have to choose an oil regeneration company very carefully. Only the companies that have reliable and efficient equipment are able to restore oil to its original condition.

The problem of oil reclamation has existed for the same amount of time as the transformer oil itself. The actual experience of its reclamation throughout the world can be considered as positive. In such countries as Germany, Belgium, and Italy about 50% of the transformer oil is reclaimed.

There are different kinds of reclamation processes that are applied throughout the industry to restore the performance characteristics of oil to their original condition. The different processes are designed to remove water, moisture, and oxidation products found in the oil.

The simplest technological processes of reclamation include:

sedimentation and filtration;
sedimentation, adsorption purification and filtration;
sedimentation, alkali treatment, adsorption purification and filtration; and
sedimentation, acid and alkali treatment, adsorption purification and filtration.
Sedimentation of waste oil is applied to remove mechanical impurities and water.

It is desirable to perform this process at between 80º to 90ºС to reach the highest point of efficiency. The ideal time used in the sedimentation process ranges from between 24 to 48 hours.

The transformer oil filtration process is realized by the use of metal meshes, cloth filters, cardboard and bleaching clay.

Acid treatment is applied to highly oxidized oils. Alkali treatment is used to remove acids from oil. It is recommended to apply adsorption purification to remove asphalts.

The main reasons that objectively justify the economic feasibility of oil reclamation include

the number of aging products in oil constitute mere fragments of a percent. By removing such substances, it is possible to resume all but a complete service of oil;
oil reclamation costs are usually lower than the price of new oil;
timely reclaimed oil improves reliability of expensive transformer equipment.
During operation of a transformer, a number of negative factors affect the insulating oil, which leads to its contamination, moistening, and oxidation. As a result, the dielectric liquid ages accompanied by the loss of its chemical and electrophysical properties. Adverse factors include exposure to air oxygen, high temperatures, sunlight, and the presence of soluble metal salts in the oil, which act as a catalyst for the oxidation process.

Transformer oil that lost its functions is not able to fully perform required tasks, therefore it should be either replaced or reclaimed with the help of special equipment.

To date, there is still a tradition of replacing used transformer oil with the fresh one. Though, despite the fact that the practice of replacement has evolved over decades, reclamation technologies are increasingly being used. Which solution is more expedient, replacement or reclamation?

The main difference between these processes is that the structural group composition of the reclaimed oil and new oil is not the same even if brands coincide. Over the years of operation, a certain symbiosis is formed between oil and paper. Oil that has been reclaimed is neutral to its “own” paper. In case new oil is used, then there is a possibility of additional negative reactions and violation of the previously achieved balance.

In general, transformer oil reclamation involves a set of actions aimed at the full correspondence of the operating parameters with the normalized values. Technically, transformer oil reclamation is conducted with the help of the HDC equipment.

Undesirable components are removed using the fuller’s earth sorbent, the properties of which are reclaimed during the regeneration cycle. This approach enables continuous transformer oil treatment without pauses to find and replace the sorbent.

Another important advantage of HDC equipment is the possibility of regeneration directly in the tank of a live transformer. There is no need to de-energize important facilities and civilian consumers. Timely reclamation of insulating oil allows not only to save money on fresh oil products but also to extend the service life of a power transformer for 25-30 years!

Posted by HDCoilrefining 18:50 Tagged oil recycling Comments (0)

Used Oil vs Waste Oil – What’s the difference?!

We see a lot of garages in our line of work, at facilities all across the US. There’s on huge issue which I’ve been harping on for years, and it has to do with oil and how it relates to environmental compliance issues.

The question is:used oil vs. waste oil – what’s the difference?

Well the short answer is a lot.

For facilities or operations with a big fleet of vehicles, you’re bound to have a garage. In the garage, on the yard, or anywhere those trucks are used, you’re bound to find new oil for the trucks. Where does the old, used oil go? It’s normally held onsite in a container, either to be burned in a heating unit, trucked offsite, or some held for other use. These tanks more often than not are labelled waste oil – or worse yet, not labelled at all, and described as the waste oil tank.

Almost every time I find out it’s not a tank for waste oil, but a tank holding used oil. Who cares?! As long as your tanks are listed in your SPCC Plan, what’s the difference what’s inside the tank? Is this a question of wording, or is there really a difference between used oil & waste oil?

Here’s the difference.

Used oil is oil that has been used, and as a result of such use, is now contaminated by physical or chemical impurities. The classic example is used oil drained from the engine of a truck or vehicle, and then stored for reuse, recycling, or shipping offsite.

Waste oil is oil that has not been used, but is found to be unsuitable for its originally intended purpose. For example, suppose a 55-gallon drum of oil was opened only to find that the cap on the drum had leaked, and now the oil was mixed with water, rendering it unsuitable for it’s original purpose.

Great, so what?

Here’s the biggest difference. Waste oil is a hazardous waste. In terms of regulations, it’s a completely different product than used oil. There’s more liabilities, more regulations to adhere to, necessary actions needed to remove the product from your site, etc. Having used oil on hand is a by-product of doing what you do, and it’s ok to have it onsite. Having waste oil on hand is a potentially serious issue that needs to be resolved quickly. There are additional regulations, such as the level of contamination of the used oil, regards to its eventual reuse, recycling, or disposal. It’s much better to have used oil vs waste oil.

Another regulation is used oil tanks must, by regulation, be labelled as Used Oil – not unmarked, unlabelled, or as waste oil. Used Oil – that’s it. I’m sure the guys working at the plant all know used oil’s in the tank, but they need to be labeled.

There are some state-specific differences to this general overview, and in all cases, check with your applicable state waste regulatory office, or seek qualified help. And remember, when it comes to used oil vs. waste oil, there is a difference!

Posted by HDCoilrefining 18:49 Tagged waste used oil Comments (0)

Reasons for deterioration of lubricating oil quality

Contaminated by external impurities
Oil is most susceptible to soiling by various mechanical impurities during system use. These impurities are metal scraps, dust, sand, fibrous matter, and the like. This is because the metal powder that has been rubbed off on the friction mechanism falls into the oil, or the dust and sand are immersed in the oil due to the tight sealing of the system and the machine casing. For example, when a tractor is working in the field and a car is driving on the road, a lot of fine dust and sand are brought into the engine oil through the air filter along with the air. Mine machinery is often contaminated with mineral powder. The lubricating oil used in machine tools and the hydraulic oil used in hydraulic equipment are often stained by the chips and other metal powders of the workpiece. These impurities have a very bad effect on the quality of the system oil, it will be like abrasive to heat the machinery, so that parts of the early wear and tear.

Turbid by water
When oil is working in mechanical equipment, there is often water infiltration, which is due to various mechanical equipment lubrication system, hydraulic transmission system, or water cooling device is not tight enough to make water flow into the oil. In addition, the water contained in the air can also be absorbed by the oil, because the oil has water absorption, the size of its water absorption depends on the ambient temperature. For example, transformer dissolved water and transformer oil temperature has a great relationship. The relationship between the two above can be seen from the table below:

Relationship between water content and temperature of transformer oil
The temperature of oil/0C Water content(mass fraction)
5 0.011%
25 0.042%
50 0.054%
70 0.105%

Thermal decomposition
There are many kinds of oils when it comes into contact with high-temperature components of mechanical equipment, for example, in the combustion zone of engine fuel, when it comes into direct contact with red-hot metals in quenching, and when it comes into direct contact with high-voltage arcs in oil switches. It will be subjected to extreme local overheating until a partial combustion occurs and the oil can be heated to a considerable temperature. At this point the oil causes thermal decomposition (cracking), which results in the formation of colloid and hard coke, which is called coke deposit. Coke deposit is harmful to automotive engine because it is a bad conductor of heat. The wall of combustion chamber and the top of piston are covered with coke deposit, which leads to bad heat dissipation, and the overheating and damage of engine parts occur.

4, oxidation

The main reason for the chemical change during the use of the system oil is the role of oxygen in the air. When oil works in equipment, the oxidation degree of oil will be accelerated and deepened with the increase of oil temperature, contact time, contact area and contact pressure with air. Oxidation results in the formation of some harmful substances such as acids, colloid, asphalt, etc. As the oxide in the oil increases, the color of the oil darkens, the viscosity increases and the acid value increases. The sediment in the oil is precipitated, so the impurity content in the oil increases. Oxidation of oil often causes trouble to the system.

Diluted by fuel oil.
Lubricating oil and aviation lubricating oil of automobile tractor seep into lubricating oil because part of fuel oil (diesel oil, gasoline) is not completely burned during the working process of various internal combustion engines, and gradually dilute lubricating oil.

The degree to which the lubricant is diluted by the fuel oil is related to the structure and working condition of the engine and the type of fuel oil. Average content of aviation gasoline is 2%~3% in waste aviation lubricating oil, 10%~15% in waste vehicle lubricating oil and 30%~50% in tractor lubricating oil. Thus, the higher the flash point of the fuel oil used in the engine, the more fuel oil is infiltrated into the lubricating oil, and the more diluted the lubricating oil is. This will reduce the flash point and viscosity of the lubricant, and lose the proper lubrication performance.

The amount of undesirable impurities produced by the oil products in the system work is not allowed to increase indefinitely. When it reaches a certain degree, it can not meet the requirements of the system for the oil products. Therefore, this kind of oil becomes scrap oil and needs to be replaced. If not replaced, continue to use, it will speed up the wear and tear of moving parts, and make the system malfunction, and reduce the service life of equipment.

How to determine whether the oil should be scrapped, this is a more complex problem, because the use of different conditions, different mechanical equipment on the oil requirements, need to be combined with the actual use of the situation. Only the general indicators are listed as the criteria for determining scrap oil:

1, the mechanical impurity content >2%

2, water content >2.5%

3, acid value (mgKOH/g) >1.5%

4, viscosity >25%

5, carbon slag value >2%

6, ash >0.2%

7, fuel oil content >10%

Posted by HDCoilrefining 15:49 Comments (0)

Quality Control of Recycled Lubricants

The production of modern lubricants requires both good quality base oils, good quality additives and excellent additive formulations.

It has been demonstrated in the production practice of natural lubricating oils that the quality of the lubricating oil depends both on the additive and on the base oil. The deeper the refined depth of the base oil, the better the sensitivity to the additive. However, from an economic point of view, it is not the deeper the refined depth of the base oil. In order to achieve the same product quality, it is to deepen the refining depth of the base oil or increase the amount of additives. Depending on the cost, although deepening the refining depth can reduce the amount of additives, if the cost of the additive saved is insufficient to compensate for the increase in the cost of refining, It is not cost effective, so there is a question of choosing the appropriate refinement depth.

A large amount of research and practice has formed the specifications of the base oil, which reflects the reasonable refinement depth that should be. The recycled base oil produced by the waste lubricating oil recycling plant should also reach this specification or close to this specification in order to produce high-quality high-grade lubricating oil, but the recycling of the waste lubricating oil has its own particularity, and it is not necessary to fully adhere to the specifications of the natural oil base oil.

Practice has proved that after the recycled base oil reaches or approaches the quality level of the natural oil base oil, the formula for the natural lubricating oil is selected for the reclaimed oil to produce a high-grade product similar in quality to the natural lubricating oil. Therefore, in the daily production of waste lubricating oil recycling plant, in order to produce high-quality reclaimed lubricating oil products, it is mainly necessary to control the production process conditions and produce high-quality regenerated base oil.

For the reclaimed oil used in the unit, since it is often repurified or re-refined, it is not a regenerated base oil but a purified regenerated lubricating oil. It also retains a large number of original additives in the plant. Such reclaimed oil can be replenished by adding appropriate amount of additives, or mixed with new oil in a certain ratio. In daily production, each tank is also sampled and analyzed, and the production is controlled according to the quality control standards adopted by itself.

The quality control in the production of recycled base oil and lubricating oil is an analysis of physical and chemical indicators, which are divided into daily analysis and factory analysis. Daily analysis is only used to control the daily production of the project, the factory analysis is the sampling analysis of the finished oil tank, generally for the full analysis, in addition to the agreement to allow the reduction of some projects, generally in accordance with national standards or industry standards .

The waste lubricating oil recycling plant will also produce a small amount of by-product diesel. Generally, the refined regenerative diesel is close to the specification of No. 0 diesel. The necessary analysis should be carried out before the sale. Although it is not necessary and necessary to analyze the cetane number, it should be physicochemical. The indicator calculates the cetane number index.

Posted by HDCoilrefining 18:48 Tagged lubricants Comments (0)

Recycling used oil related waste in workshops

Workshops may be disposing of their used lubricating oil correctly, but what are they doing with related waste such as grease, contaminated sawdust or sand, oil rags, filters and oil containers? These items also need to be recycled in a compliant manner and yet they are often thrown out with general waste.

Used lubricating oil is a hazardous substance containing heavy metals and carcinogens, that can severely pollute the environment, and generators are legally required to recycle used oil in terms of the Waste Act. Lubricant oils are used in machinery in mining, industry, mining, farming and in all motor vehicles – South Africa generates an average of 120 million litres of used lubricant oil in a year, which must be recycled.

Generators of used oil are required by law under the Waste Act to ensure that their waste is responsibly managed. It has therefore become the legal obligation of South African businesses that generate waste such as used oil to ensure it is responsibly collected and taken away to a registered facility for processing and recycling.

The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) an organization driving responsible recycling of lubricating oil, has identified that while many workshops and businesses that generate used oil have realised the need to recycle this harmful waste in order to keep it out of the environment – and comply with legislation – what many businesses are overlooking is the matter of related wastes such as used oil filters, oily rags, sawdust used to soak up oil spills, empty oil containers, spent greases etc.

The oil on these items, when not managed and disposed of correctly, can also leach out and contaminate the environment. The Waste Management Act places an onus on all South African businesses to avoid, minimise, re-use, recycle, treat and dispose of their waste as a last resort – this refers to all waste generated.

Bubele Nyiba, CEO of ROSE explains that the majority of oil generating businesses in South Africa are discarding related waste along with the domestic refuse and not properly storing them for safe disposal or recycling.

“This is largely due to a lack of knowledge on the available alternatives rather than a lack of regard,” says Nyiba.

How to recycle related waste

The ROSE Foundation suggests that generators separate their related waste (oily rags, sawdust, filters, cardboard, plastic bottles and tin cans) into a separate waste bin to allow for easy collection and disposal.

“For empty oily cans at service stations contact a can collector to come and take away your empty oil containers – plastic or tin. The ROSE Foundation works with several can collection services to ensure that empty oil cans do not end up on our landfill sites. The empty cans are collected, weighed, sorted, drained of the remaining oil dregs, washed and then dried before being packaged and sent off for full recycling,” says Nyiba

“Empty drums are another related waste item that must be recycled responsibly. Drums are collected by members of SAICRA (South African Drum Reconditioning Association) for reconditioning into drums of high quality that are sold back into the market. There are many drum reconditioning plants in South Africa, that is why you will not see a used drum dumped in a landfill site.”

You can also contact a ROSE licensed collector and ask them to assist you with cleaning out your grease trap and transporting the contents off your premises. Alternatively, there are businesses that specialise in a grease trap cleaning service but before contracting them ask the right questions and find out what they do with the spent grease.

“There is a huge worldwide shift towards sustainable business practises in order to protect our environment. Responsible waste management within a business environment is no longer a nice thing to do but a necessary thing to do.”

“The ROSE Foundation is committed to championing the responsible storage, transportation, recycling and disposal of used oil and all its related wastes,” concludes Nyiba.

Posted by HDCoilrefining 01:32 Comments (0)

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