Petroleum is a limited resource, but recycled oil can give it a second life before it finally is disposed of.
As we know, when petroleum comes out of the ground, it needs to be refined before it can be used. Heavy asphalt, long-chain hydrocarbons and other impurities, are taken out the bottom, while short-chain hydrocarbons are taken out the top. Each level in the refining process results in a different usable petroleum derivative. Some derivatives, such as gasoline or diesel fuel, have but one life, and their combustion results in release of energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Lubricants, such as the typical 5W-20 engine oil or 75W-90 differential oil, partially oxidize and pick up contaminants during their usable lifespan, at which point them may end up being disposed of or recycled.
Recycled oil gives these refined petroleum products a second life. For example, some recycled oil companies will filter out contaminants and re-refine the oil for use again as an engine lubricant. After all, the typical oil filter can only filter out particles down to 25 µm, because any smaller and it wouldn’t allow enough oil to flow for proper engine lubrication and protection, but recycled oil can be filtered, more slowly, of course, down to 3 µm or less, and can be used again. Neste Oil recycled oil actually gives these lubricants another destination, perhaps a third or fourth, albeit final, life.
Neste Oil uses recycled oil as a feedstock for producing transportation fuels. Lars Peter Lindfors, Neste Oil senior vice-president of technology, said in a statement, ”With the continuing depletion of natural resources and the world’s increasing demand for energy, we need to find new raw materials and use our existing resources more efficiently and more wisely. Neste Oil is already the world’s largest producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues, and our R&D people are working to increase our use of recycled materials such as spent motor oil.” Last year, Neste Oil produced enough diesel fuel from recycled oil, animal fats, and vegetable oils for over one million cars.
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