SKF has been awarded a EUR 1.62 million grant from the European Commission to install and operate a stand-alone processing plant for the regeneration of industrial oils in Tudela, Spain. The project will use the innovative Double Separation Technology (DST) developed by SKF RecondOil to remove contaminants from used oils and return them to a cleaner, usable and high-grade state.
The Tudela installation is the most recent addition to the growing number of DST systems in SKF’s manufacturing footprint. The technology is already in place at multiple sites in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Early results from the installations show that honing oil and filter consumption has decreased significantly, and product quality has improved as a result of the clean oil.
“With this technology, we can achieve unprecedented levels of oil cleanliness that enable repeated reuse of oil in the same application. Our service is a technological breakthrough, targeting the implementation of the patented technology at significant commercial scale”, says Carl Philip Fredborg, Teamleader, Deployment, and Aftersales at SKF RecondOil.
The DST combines chemical and mechanical separation processes. In the first step, a specialized chemical composition, called a booster, is added to the oil. The booster attracts dirt within the oil – all the way down to nano-sized particles – while leaving essential oil additives intact. In the second step, all the dirt is separated from the oil, leaving a clean oil that can be continually regenerated.
Closing the oil loop in industry practices
The project allows for circular recovery and reuse of oils that typically would have reached the end of their life, requiring disposal. Disposal typically involves waste incineration. However, since DST allows the removal of almost all impurities, the oil can instead be returned to use.
Implementation of DST has the potential to decrease the need for the production of fossil-based virgin oil, lower the consumption of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with the production, transportation, and disposal of the replaced virgin oil. Expectations are that up to 2,5 million liters of used oil can be treated in the new processing plant annually. At full capacity, this means the new processing plant helps avoid more than 15 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during its first 10 years of operation (compared to the same amount of virgin oil being produced, used, and disposed of).
This innovation is aligned with the EU’s industrial strategy to introduce circularity in new areas and sectors of the economy, to reduce consumption of raw materials, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. It also aligns with the UN Sustainability Development Goal number 12, responsible consumption and production.
The DST and new processing plants could be deployed near large industrial hubs and for clients operating in different regional industries, such as chemicals, petrochemicals, refineries, and aeronautics. The technology can be used for replicability in the industrial oil sector which may contribute to environmental advantages and emissions reductions. Beyond its sector, the RecondOil solution can be used across the economy, in almost all the manufacturing industries, such as aerospace, marine, mining, mineral processing, cement production, and cars and trucks manufacturing, in Europe and worldwide.
The installation is in its final stage and SKF expects to start servicing customers in the new processing plant by early Q2, 2022.