“Circularity” is not just a buzzword for the Spanish SKFOAAS project - it’s part of its DNA! With the help of the EU Innovation Fund that supports clean technology projects all over Europe, SKF Española, S.A. - the company running SKFOAAS (which stands for SKF RECONDOIL AS A SERVICE) - is operating a new industrial plant to regenerate industrial oils in Tudela, Spain.
Ultra clean oil
Sounds too complicated and technical? Maybe so, but these oils are very important for industries that, in turn, are important for us. From paper or steel manufacturing to transmission systems, they are applied in a wide range of sectors to improve the performance of machinery and protect it against damage during operation.
The SKFOAAS project uses a ground-breaking solution called Double Separation Technology (DST) that can change the way we view industrial oils - from a costly consumable to a fully circular product. How is this possible? First, a specialised chemical composition, called a booster, is added to the oil. The booster attracts dirt - all the way down to nano-sized particles. Next, all the dirt is separated from the oil, leaving a clean oil that can be reused many times - in some cases, indefinitely!
Closing the oil loop
This innovation is a true example of circular economy, in line with the EU's industrial strategy, which aims to introduce circularity in new sectors of European industry and speed up the transition to climate neutrality.
As we can regenerate oil instead of destroying it after one use, fewer raw materials such as metals are used, and less waste and pollution is created. Last but not least, the technology also reduces significantly greenhouse gas emissions. This is because less need for virgin oil means less fossil fuel used, and also fewer emissions from the production, transportation and discard of oil.
The new plant will treat up to 2,5 million litres of used oil per year, avoiding the equivalent of 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during the project’s first ten years of operation. Put more simply, for every cubic meter of the reconditioned oil, 3 tons of CO2 emissions are avoided.
Potentially, the technology can also bring down costs for consumers of products of the industries concerned - for us - because industrial producers won’t have to buy so much new oil.
A technology applicable almost anywhere
The regeneration of oils can be applied to practically any industry, and many oil types. As a result, the SKFOAAS solution can be used across the economy, in almost all manufacturing sectors, such as aerospace, marine, mining, mineral processing, cement production, cars and trucks manufacturing, in Europe and worldwide.
Ready for take-off – with the EU Innovation Fund
The new processing plant in Tudela is ready and many potential customers have already expressed interest. Importantly, it also serves the local economy as new jobs have been created.
Although the EU Innovation Fund has already awarded 37 projects, SKFOAAS is the first of them to enter into operation. The investment is estimated at €2,7 million, with €1,62 million provided by the EU Innovation Fund.