Whelan Rerefinery Prepares to Get Back in Gear


Whelan Refining Ltd. took key steps towards reopening a refurbished base oil refinery in northwest England expected to process about 50,000 metric tons of waste oil annually to produce 35,000 tons of Group I base oils.

The company – of Stoke on Trent, England – received its Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control permit from the United Kingdoms Environment Agency on June 26. Whelan said it has also completed more than 2 million (U.S. $2.7 million) of engineering work on schedule and has begun commissioning of the plant. Commissioning includes reviewing engineering to make sure it has been completed as per design.

The Whelan rerefinery uses a three-stage distillation process that doesnt use proprietary technology. Were just about to start to receive waste oil, Whelan Refining Ltd. managing director John Whelan told Lube Report on Monday. Well be looking to start actual production in the last week of this month.

The prevention and control permitting process is a relatively new process, according to Whelan. The function of the permit is to control all aspects of the plant operations with a specific focus upon protecting the environment, Whelan said. You have to demonstrate that in all aspects of the refinery operations, that you have employed best available techniques [referred to as BAT], so the refinery will reach BAT from day one of its operations.

The company said it has secured outlets for the rerefinerys products both nationally and internationally. The main interest is from lubricant manufacturing companies, although we also have had some interest as it happens from base oil traders, Whelan said. They too would sell it primarily to lubricant manufacturing companies and to other industry sectors that use base oils as process oils.

The refinery is in the northwest part of England, about halfway between Birmingham and Manchester. The company has said that about 50 percent of the waste oil regeneration in the U.K. is within about a 100-mile radius of the refinery.

The plant, originally built 10 years ago, was out of commission for the last five years. Whelan Refining, the primary investor in the project, plans to employ about 25 people at the refinery.

In the U.K., small to medium size enterprises collect waste oil, process it to what is known as reclaimed fuel oil and then sell it as fuel. Whelan plans to purchase that waste oil from the collectors as its feedstock. The EU Waste Incineration Directive passed in December 2005 makes it more difficult to burn waste oil as fuel.

Related Topics

Market Topics