Re-Refining of Spent Ester-Based Synthetic Lubricants

EPA Contract Number: 68D98160
Title: Re-Refining of Spent Ester-Based Synthetic Lubricants
Investigators: Liu, Paul K.T.
Small Business: Media and Process Technology Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through September 1, 2000
Project Amount: $224,947
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1998) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Ester-based synthetic lubricants are used in a variety of applications ranging from low- end two stroke oils in chain saws and automotive crankcase oils to high-end high performance oils in jet turbines and heavy duty truck transmissions. These materials offer a number of advantages over mineral (petroleum) based oils including excellent low temperature fluidity, very high viscosity index, and superior thermal, pressure, and oxidative stability. In North America, over 17million gallons of synthetic esters valued at over $130million are purchased and disposed of yearly. At present, no commercial technology is available to re-refine spent ester-based synthetic lubricants into virgin quality basestocks. Media and Process Technology, Inc. (M&P) has demonstrated that these spent materials can be re-refined into virgin quality lubricants using its proprietary technology. In Phase I, M&P produced a number of samples for market testing and evaluation. The response from the testing has been very positive. In addition, quality control methods were developed for screening incoming feedstock. Moreover, the production process was modified with the addition of a unit operation to remove the additive tricresylphosphate (TCP). This addition reduces capital and operating costs substantially. According to M&P's economic analysis, the capital investment can be paid off in less than 6 months depending upon the sale price of the recycled product.

In Phase II, M&P will conduct a field demonstrations and commercialization is expected to process rapidly up to 500,000 gallons/year.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, hazardous/solid waste, engineering, chemistry, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Hazardous Waste, Chemistry and Materials Science, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, cleaner production, recycled lubricants, recycled lubricant, spent ester-based synthetic lubricant, pollution prevention, ester-based synthetic lubricants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Re-refining of Spent Ester-Based Synthetic Lubricants