Have you ever wondered what is happening to the lube oil after you changed the oil? You should know that the engine oils are re-refined for reusing. The increasing air pollution and global warming is an alarm call to save the Nature’s resources and to use each of them as many times as possible by refining and recycling techniques. Recycling the same indicates burning the used oil as fuel for some other purpose. But re-refining the liquid is a commercial process to remove particulate matters and made suitable to be used in vehicles again.
Reasons for reusing the oil
You are well aware of the fact that oil is a non-renewable natural resource. If you don’t preserve it, then the supply will be exhausted one day. To stop this and to control the pollution level, refine the already used black oil into base oil. This will be of same quality or even better than that of the original form. Engine oils get contaminated at a rate which is inversely proportional to the alkaline percentage of the liquid. Although there are filters attached to modern engines, yet dirt does accumulate in over a more extended period. Then you replace the automobile fluid to make it available again for vehicle use.
The highly intricate process has a number of steps.
- Dewatering: The first step of re-refining is to remove water particles from the liquid generally by using settling tanks or by complex evaporation procedures.
- Filtration and Demineralization: This step ensures removal of residual solids, additives and inorganic ingredients from the fluid. You can produce lubricants with lighter viscosity by diluting the de-mineralized form.
- Deasphalting: The next phase is to remove bituminous portions by the action of Propane. In the recovery towers, collect the light fuels and Glycol separately. The residual wastes are combined with vacuum distillation chamber’s residues to form asphaltic extenders.
- Distillation: This method purifies the filtrate using vacuum pressure and heat. It is precisely similar to the technique followed while preparing the virgin oil.
- Fractional distillation: It is the physical method by which you can separate the components based on their boiling points. You vaporize the used oil under high vacuum pressure and then condense it back to liquid form.
- Hydrogen treatment: Here, you expose the fluid to hydrogen to get rid of chlorine, sulfur, nitrogen and other such heavy impurities. Their weight separates the resulting filtrate.
- Blending: The final step where you combine the additives with gases, and lubricants to impart the anti-friction and anti-corrosive features.
The primary objective to undergo such long and intricate commercial processing is to prevent the continuous wastage of natural resources. It takes millions of years to convert the fossilized plants and animals into natural oils. So if you are consuming the significant portion of it without replenishing the stock, you are doing irreparable damage to Nature. Hence the larger refineries are dedicated to re-refining used oils.