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20 May, 2022

€1.6m EU grant will help to build plant to re-use industrial oils

25 January, 2022

The European Commission has awarded SKF a €1.62m grant to install and operate a plant to regenerate industrial oils in Tudela, Spain. The project – due to come onstream in the second quarter of 2022 – will remove contaminants from used oils and return them to the same condition as they were when new, thus cutting CO2 emissions.

The project will allow industrial oils that would usually need to be disposed of at end of their lives – typically using waste incineration – to be recovered and re-used. The Spanish plant will use a two-step process known as Double Separation Technology (DST) that removes almost all impurities from the oil, returning it to clean, high-grade state.

The DST process, developed by SKF RecondOil, combines chemical and mechanical separation steps. In the first step, a chemical known as a booster is added to the oil. This attracts dirt – down to nano-sized particles – while leaving essential oil additives intact. In the second step, the dirt is separated, leaving a clean oil that can be regenerated continually.

“With this technology we can achieve unprecedented levels of oil cleanliness that enable repeated re-use of oil in the same application,” explains Carl Philip Fredborg, who leads the deployment and aftersales team at SKF RecondOil. “Our service is a technological breakthrough, targeting the implementation of the patented technology at significant commercial scale.”

DST reduces the need to produce fossil-based virgin oil, as well as cutting the consumption of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with producing, transporting and disposing of virgin oil. The new plant will treat up to 2.5 million litres of used oil every year. At full capacity, it could help to 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).

SKF says that the technology could be applied in almost any manufacturing industry including petrochemicals, aerospace, marine, mining, mineral processing, cement production and automotive. It could be deployed near large industrial hubs.

The Double Separation Technology allows old industrial oils to be re-used as new

This innovation fits in with the EU's industrial strategy of introducing circularity into various sectors of the economy with the aim of cutting the consumption of raw materials, as well as the generation of waste and the emission of greenhouse gases.

SKF acquired the DST technology when it bought RecondOil Sweden in 2020. It has since installed DST systems at sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Early results from the installations show that the process decreases honing oil and filter consumption “significantly”, as well as producing clean, high-quality oil.

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