The European Commission awarded Swedish company SKF a €1.6 million (U.S. $1.8 million) grant to install and operate a stand-alone processing plant for regeneration of industrial oils in Tudela, Spain.
The plant will use a double separation technology developed by SKF RecondOil and designed to clean waste oils highly contaminated in industrial processes. “The technology is focused on metalworking and hydraulic oils,” SKF spokesperson Nia Moustou told Lube Report.
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The installation is in its final stage of construction, and SKF expects to start operating the plant by early in the second quarter of this year, the company said. The DST stand-alone unit that is installed in Tudela is the largest unit that RecondOil is producing, Moustou noted. The unit’s footprint is 12 by 5 meters, and the height of the unit is 5 meters, she said, and the unit could not be completely fitted into the existing buildings in Tudela. “The size of the unit is needed to have a large capacity for regenerating the lubricants on the market,” Moustou told Lube Report.
She noted the actual DST RecondOil is set-up in an existing building of the factory. The company is doing some work inside the building, in existence since 1973, to upgrade the area. “We are also adding a new building, which will handle all containers of oils that we will receive,” Moustou said. “The area will also be used to feed the fast RecondOil process.”
The technology is already in place at multiple sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia, SKF said, adding that the benefits of using cleaned oil has been demonstrated.
“With this technology, we can achieve unprecedented levels of oil cleanliness that enable reuse of oil in the same application,” Carl Philip Fredborg, team leader for deployment and aftersales at SKF RecondOil, said in a news release.
The dual separation technology combines chemical and mechanical separation processes. First a specialized chemical composition called a booster is introduced to attract dirt down to nano-sized particles, while leaving essential oil additives intact. Then the system separates the dirt, leaving a clean oil that can be regenerated continually.
The Tudela plant can treat up to 2.5 million liters of used oil annually. “At full capacity,” the company stated, “this means the new processing plant helps avoid more than 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions during its first year of operations, compared to the same amount of virgin oil being produced, used and disposed.”
SKF said the RecondOil solution can be used in almost all manufacturing industries, including aerospace, marine, mining, mineral processing, cement production and automobile manufacturing.
The technology is considered aligned with the European Union’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 United Nations Sustainability Development Goal No. 12, responsible consumption and production.
SKF’s team in Tudela is very committed so sustainability and “green” business models, according to Moustou. “The factory is one of the first which has achieved carbon neutrality, and the DST unit will support the customers in the region to do the same,” she told Lube Report. A second key reason for introducing the plant in Tudela is a strong local market with many large players in the automotive industry, she added. “We believe that this technology can support these players, not only for sustainability reasons but also for increasing the performance of the lubricants,” Moustou said.
Sweden-based SKF is a global supplier of bearings, seals, lubrication systems and related services. The company, which has more than 40,000 employees, is represented in more than 130 countries and has about 17,000 distributor locations worldwide.
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