The collection of waste oils for the production of added-value products is one of the most prime examples of a circular economy, and a significant step towards reducing emissions from waste disposal.
Waste-derived lubricant oils are a source of pollution and their reintroduction into the value chain could supply additional volumes of base oils and biofuels.
The EU lubricant market is estimated at 4 million tons/year, with the majority deriving from the automove and oil industries. Around 5-7% of those volumes is estimated to be of vegetable or synthetic origin, of which 100,000 tons/year are collectable.
The Italian lubricant market is one of the largest ones in Europe, approximately responsible for 10% of the total EU annual lubricant use. Around 20,000 tons of those are of vegetable or synthetic origin and approximately half (circa 10,000 tons) are collectable.
The use of bio-lubricants as a replacement of mineral-based lubricants is constantly growing in the European market, both for reasons of sustainability and to achieve a greater CO2 emissions reduction. The opportunity for the bio-lubricant market to grow stems from the potential to separate collection of waste bio-lubricants from those of mineral origin, currently not done at a European level.
The LIFE Bio-Lubricant project 101074504 aims to demonstrate a short and efficient supply chain for the exclusive recycling of bio-lubricants, currently collected and regenerated without distinction from those of mineral origin, at a semi-industrial scale.
This lack of separation results in a loss of efficiency of the existing mineral lubricant regeneration processes, due to the presence of the bio-lubricant fraction into the collected mineral fluids; it results also in the consequent lack of regenerated bio-lubricants, and into the resulting high demand for virgin vegetable raw materials used for production. Therefore, a separate collection could maximize the benefits of both chains (mineral and vegetable-based).
The lack of a dedicated collection is also reflected into the absence of industrial regeneration processes specialized exclusively in the recycling of bio-lubricants.
Life Bio-Lubricant will demonstrate a technological solution that will allow an efficiency increase in the use of bio-lubricants through the establishment of a separate collectionenabling their separate processing and re-introduction in the value chain as regenerated bio-lubricants and advanced biofuels.
The objective of the project is the recovery and treatment of 1,000 tons of waste bio/synthetic esters, with production of about 700 tons of regenerated bio-lubricants (70%) and 200 tons of advanced biofuels (20%).
Emission reduction of about 1,700 tons of CO2 (700 tons of regenerated bio-lubricant with benefit of about 2,5 kg CO2/kg compared to non-regenerated bio-lubricant)
Potential emission reduction of up to 7.000 tons of CO2 (for possible replacement of 700 tons of mineral based lubricant with bio-lubricant: benefit of about up to 10 kg CO2/kg of lubricant on the entire recovery chain)
Potential improvement of efficiency into the lube mineral re-refining process as a consequence of the segregated collection (CO2 saving impact to be calculated)
Reduction of agricultural land use for advanced bio-fuel production (to be calculated based on estimated production of about 700 tons of oleic acid and 200 tons of advanced biofuel)
Increase in resource autonomy, due to the availability of secondary raw materials otherwise lost
The kick-off meeting of the Bio-lubricant project, financed by the European Commission's Life Programme, was announced in September 2022.
Project lead A&A Fratelli Parodi SpA hosted partners Venanzieffe, Q8Oils Italia S.r.l. and EWABA at their facilities in Inveruno, Milan, Italy.
The project's aim is to recycle novel waste oil streams for the production of bio-lubricants and advanced biodiesel and we are delighted to support our partners in communication and dissemination of key activities throughout the life of the 33-month project.
The project is partly funded by CINEA - European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency.
Since 1955 A&A Fratelli Parodi Spa is a leader company in the production of vegetable oils, esters, waxes and butters, vegetable-based products that find application in the cosmetic and industrial fields (lubricants, metal- working fluids, plasticizers, natural solvents).
Under its Green Chemistry initiative to introduce new methods and products, A.&A. Fratelli Parodi aims at replacing mineral based products, currently employed in several industrial sectors, with vegetable-based alternatives. The Parodi family founded APG Group in 2015 with the aim of exploiting synergies within the acquired businesses and divided the group in three main divisions: i) chemical, ii) advanced biofuel, and iii) life sciences. A.&A. Fratelli Parodi is the project coordinator of the LIFE Bio-Lubricant project and is responsible for the project management, the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) study as well as the regeneration of recycled biolubricant bases.
Q8Oils specializes in the research, development and marketing of lubricants for the automotive and industrial sector.
Part of the Kuwait Petroleum International Group, Q8Oils Italia is a specialist manufacturer of premium lubricants and bio-lubricant. Q8Oils Italia plays a pivotal role in the LIFE Bio-Lubricant project by communicating the project's goals and to lead its customers through the process of recycling bio-lubricants, and the end of the circle as well as it’s responsible to produce and market added-value bio-lubricant solutions.
Waste feedstock collector
Venanzieffe Srl is nationally recognized as one of the main players in the Italian waste management industry, with its operations running for over 65 years.
With a high level of expertise in the waste management market, Venanzieffe is specialized in special-waste collection and nowadays is starting a process of horizontal integration in its work activities by installing treatment plants, in order to shorten the supply-chain. Under the LIFE Bio-Lubricant project, Venanzieffe is responsible for the waste lubricant mixture collection and the first purification process, with the aim of this treatment being to separate lubes from water and eventually solid parts.
Communications and Dissemination Lead
EWABA is a Brussels-based association representing the interests of the European waste-based and advanced biofuels industry before EU institutions, national governments, industry,civil society and the media.
EWABA gathers 40+ members active in the majority of EU Member States and in important non-EU markets such as the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The members are producers of biodiesel from used cooking oil, animal fats and other advanced waste feedstocks, waste collectors and technology providers (membership list accessible at https://www.ewaba.eu/our- members). EWABA is the communications and dissemination lead of the LIFE Bio-Lubricant project and is therefore responsible to build the project’s brand and communications kit, raise awareness of the project activities and establish a wide network that this facilitate the diffusion of project objectives and results.