Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oil an Engine's Life Blood The Crude Facts of Recycling

Oil an Engine's Life BloodThe Crude Facts of Recycling

-Alan Arnell

Oil is the lifeblood of any classic car engine.  Keeping your car running its best depends on to a great extent on the condition of your engine’s.  In classic 350ci small blocks and 427ci large blocks for example, may use high-volume oil pumps, windage trays and oil pans with extra capacity all contribute to your engine’s performance and if you neglect the frequency of changing your oil, the engine will suffer.  
What do you do with that all that oil after your have drained it from your high-horsepower engine?  The only correct thing is to recycle that used oil.  

You will find almost all auto supply stores in your neighborhood will take used oil and have it recycled for no cost to you.  If that is not available just go to www.calrecycle.  You just enter your local Zip code and you will be told where you can help the environment and get rid of that nasty old oil.  


Automotive oil recycling involves the recycling of used oils and the creation of new products from the recycled oils, and includes the recycling of motor oil and hydraulic oil. Oil recycling also benefits the environment:  increased opportunities for consumers to recycle oil lessens the likelihood of used oil being dumped on lands and in waterways. For example, one gallon of motor oil dumped into waterways has the potential to pollute one million gallons of water.

Motor Oil

Oil being drained from an automobile, Recycled motor oil can be combusted as fuel, usually in plant boilers, space heaters, or industrial heating applications such as blast furnaces and cement kilns. Recycled motor oil can be distilled into diesel fuel or marine fuel in a process similar to oil re-refining, but without the final hydrotreating process.  The lubrication properties of motor oil persist, even in used oil, and it can be recycled indefinitely.

Used motor oil re-refining

Used oil re-refining is the process of restoring used oil to new oil by removing chemical impurities, heavy metals and dirt.  Used Industrial and automotive oil is recycled at re-refineries. The used oil is first tested to determine suitability for re-refining, after which it is dehydrated and the water distillate is treated before being released into the environment. Dehydrating also removes the residual light fuel that can be used to power the refinery, and additionally captures ethylene glycol for re-use in recycled antifreeze.

Next, industrial fuel is separated out of the used oil then vacuum distillation removes the lube cut (that is, the fraction suitable for reuse as lubricating oil) leaving a heavy oil that contains the used oil's additives and other by-products such as asphalt extender. The lube cut next undergoes hydro treating, or catalytic hydrogenation to remove residual polymers and other chemical compounds, and saturate carbon chains with hydrogen for greater stability.

Final oil separation, or fractionating, separates the oil into three different oil grades: Light viscosity lubricants suitable for general lubricant applications, low viscosity lubricants for automotive and industrial applications, and high viscosity lubricants for heavy-duty applications. The oil that is produced in this step is referred to as re-refined base oil (RRBL).
The final step is blending additives into these three grades of oil products to produce final products with the right detergent and anti-friction qualities. Then each product is tested again for quality and purity before being released for sale to the public.

Whether you're debating the need for oil independence or discussing the environmental impacts of oil drilling, there's no doubt about it: Oil is a hot topic of conversation. With so much of the conversation devoted to crude oil, the fate of more ordinary engine oils and petroleum-based lubricants is often overlooked. Nevertheless, by driving cars, mowing lawns, lubricating squeaky wheels and using countless other tools and gadgets, people generate thousands of gallons of waste oil each day. What happens to run-of-the-mill oil once it's been used and discarded?

Waste oil comes from an array of different sources, including do-it-yourselfers, auto shops, manufacturing companies, electric generating stations, HVAC companies and mining/smelter companies. Some of this oil (including a portion of the oil skimmed from oceans following industry accidents) is simply burned off. Waste oil that's too contaminated to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for recycling is disposed of as a hazardous material. Enough oil gets poured down sewers and drainage grates each year that the EPA has launched a campaign called "You Dump It, You Drink It" to educate home mechanics and small auto repair business owners about the proper way to dispose of oil.

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Check back next week to learn how to change you oil.

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