Avista, Universal Plan U.S. Rerefinery


Avista Oil AG acquired a 50 percent stake in Universal Environmental Services LLC, enabling Universal to grow its used oil collection business and plan a base oil rerefinery in Peachtree City, Ga.

Current plans call for a plant that will process 30 million gallons of waste oil per year. Were definitely expecting to be able to make [API] Group II base oil, Universal President John Redmond told Lube Report. Thats based on Avistas extensive experience in Europe, and the products they can produce in Europe using the same technology. A base oil production capacity estimate for the proposed plant has not yet been released.

The companies have completed basic engineering on the rerefinery and received approval from local planning and zoning authorities, according to Redmond. The detailed engineering process may take an additional two to three months, he added. Were looking at less than 24 months from this point to be fully operational, he said.

Andreas Weinberger, representing the owners of Avista, said the agreement furthers Avistas objectives to become a world player in the used oil business by having a presence in the important and growing U.S. market. Our objective is to grow the [Universal Environmental Services] investment both internally as well as through strategic acquisitions.

Uetze, Germany-based Avista – which has oil collection companies in Germany, Belgium and Denmark – has two rerefineries in Europe. Minerall-Raffinerie Dollbergen GmbH in Dollbergen, Germany, has 3,300 barrels per day of API Group I capacity. Dansk Olie Genbrug A/S in Kahlundborg, Denmark, has 800 b/d of Group I capacity. In 2010, Avista processed nearly 100 million gallons of used oil and other oily wastes.

Global rerefined base oil supply in 2009 amounted to 1.6 million metric tons per year, according to consultancy Kline and Co.s study, Global Used Oil 2009: Market Analysis and Opportunities. Safety-Kleen produced 16 percent of the total global supply of rerefined base oils in 2009, followed by Avista Oil, Puralube and Visoclube, each with seven percent, and Eco Huile with six percent, Kline reported.

We were looking for rerefining technology, and Avista was looking to expand the scope of their business within the United States, Universals Redmond said. It is at this point a true partnership. Theyre currently one of the largest collectors and rerefiners of used oil in Europe, and they also make a full line of finished lubricants from the used oils that they collect.

Avistas Enhanced Selective Refining technology has patents in several countries, including Germany, the U.S. and Canada. Redmond pointed out that Avistas rerefinery in Germany in 2005 won an EU Life award as the most environmentally friendly process. Its a zero emissions rerefining technology, Redmond said.

Based on lab testing of small quantity runs, Redmond said, Universal expects to get about 65 percent base oil recovery out of its used oil. He noted Universal recently sent its first million gallon shipment of used oil to Avistas Denmark refinery for testing on a large scale. The advantage we have of sending them large quantities they can run through their plants is that theyre going to have the process dialed in before we are actually fully operational here in the United States with the new rerefinery.

From sharing notes and comparing experiences, he said the two companies found a lot of similarities between them in terms of waste oil collection. We each have the same types of collection vehicles, and the processes are fairly similar, he said. In most of Europe, used oil is considered a hazardous material so theres a higher level of insurance, and training requirements for the drivers. But as far as the basic activities, theyre pretty much the same.

Headquartered in Peachtree City, Ga., Universal Environmental Services collects used oil in 12 southeastern and south central states. Operating nine used oil collection and processing facilities, Universal handles about 25 million gallons of used oil and other oily wastes per year.

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