Techno-Economic Evaluation of Used Oil Recycling

 The price of virgin oil dramatically affects the used oil management system,because used oil competes with virgin oil as a source of fuel and as a base stock for lubricating oil. Like all recycling markets, recycled oil products must be sold at a lower price than virgin oil products in order to compete. Used oil recyclers must cover the costs of collecting and recycling used oil, as well as maintain a profit to stay in business. When the virgin oil price is high, the used oil recyclers make large enough profits that they can pay generators for the used oil they produce or the transporters for the used oil they collect. When the virgin oil price drops, the used oil recyclers can then have a little profit margin to pay (or must charge) generators or transporters. When recyclers and transporters pay for used oil, the service stations, quick-lube shops, fleet operations, and DIY collection centers have an incentive to have their used oil recycled off site. As a result, high virgin oil price encourages used oil processing and re-refining. Conversely, low virgin oil price encourages the on site burning of used oil.How to choose a cost-effective recycling option, therefore, depends on the projected price of virgin oil. Other than that, protecting human health and the environment must always be the main concern. Choosing the most environmentally sound used oil management method will minimize potential liability costs and eliminate fines and other costs associated with enforcement actions for violating environmental regulations. 

Re-refined base oil from used lube oil in general, in comparison to the quality and technology of virgin base oil, is proven to be economically viable when payments for feed, production costs, by-product credits and product sell price are all accounted for.In some cases, re-refiners have a pay back period as low as 1.4 years,which is more profitable than virgin lube producers and would definitely be attractive to potential investors.In order to make BNL’s biochemical process become techno-economically feasible and fully commercialized, there are some important scopes to achieve. First of all, improvement on the quality of the bioproducts (live biomass, lipidic biomass, and delipidated biomass) will help to ensure these products can be sold to the markets at higher prices to create larger profit margins. Secondly, if possible, used oil stock from either generators or transporters needs to be acquired at reasonable price. Large used oil reprocessors or re-refiners always have their own fleet or collection system to lower the operation cost on feedstock. The commercialized biochemical plant would have to compete with these existing facilities in acquiring used oil stock. Lastly, since the market/application for the bioproducts are not limited to only one option, more profits actually, should be expected instead of other options.