Rerefining Targets Proposed in Europe


BERLIN – Rerefiners have asked the European Union to adopt volume targets in each member state for used oil collection and rerefined base oil production, an industry representative told a conference last month.

A representative of the rerefining industry told the Independent Union of the European Lubricants Industry (UEIL) last month that it expects a decision in mid-2017 and that the proposal could raise the regions output of rerefined base stocks by 500,000 metric tons per year.

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If adopted, a level playing field within the [European Union] will be established, which has to be implemented in national legislation, Christian Hartmann, president of UEILs European Rerefining Industry Section (GEIR), said Oct. 28. This should stimulate the base oil and lubricant markets within the region.

GEIRs proposal is based on the idea of increasing both the portion of used lubricants that are collected in the region and the portion of collected oil that is used to make base stocks. The 28 nations within the European Union consume 4.3 million tons of lubricants annually. GEIR estimates that this generates 2 million tons of used lubes, after taking into account volumes that are consumed during use or otherwise lost.

The region currently collects 88 percent of generated used oil, or 1.7 million tons per year, and processes 55 percent of what it collects, or 950,000 t/y, at rerefineries that produce base stocks. Because rerefineries also make other by-products, output of rerefined base stocks is 600,000 t/y.

GEIR wants to set targets of raising the used oil collection rate to 100 percent and increasing the portion of oil used for base stock processing to 85 percent, both by 2025. If it did so, the regions output of rerefined base stocks should swell 83 percent to 1.1 million t/y.

Rather that propose regional adoption of those targets, GEIR asked the commission to set collection and rerefining volume targets for each member nation, based on the target percentages and lubricant consumption volumes in each nation. For example, Germany, which generates 465,000 t/y of used lubes, would be expected to collect all of that volume by 2025 and to use 395,000 t/y of it to make rerefined base stocks. Lithuania, which generates 10,000 t/y of used oil would be tasked with collecting all of it and sending 8,500 of it for base oil production by 2025.

Hartmann said GEIR took this approach in hopes of giving member nations less latitude to diverge from regional guidelines. In 2008, at GEIRs request, the commission amended its over-arching waste management policy to state a preference that collected used oil be rerefined rather than burned as fuel. GEIR hoped that that change would increase production of rerefined base stocks, but its hope did not come to fruition.

The problem is that individual countries have leeway in the extent to which they enforce this policy, Hartmann said. Thats why weve taken this approach this time – to set targets for each country so that they have less leeway.

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Base Stocks    Conventional Base Stocks    Europe    Region    Rerefined