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Lube-Tech


A range of analytical techniques and methods are used for assessing the quality of waste oils and fats which in turn informs the level of pre-treatment required for their resultant use.


Table 4 gives a non-exhaustive list of some of the techniques used when assessing waste fats and oils.


Table 4: Analytical methods used in assessing waste fats and oils


Treatment of waste oils and fats There are a variety of process techniques and methods available to ensure the quality of waste fats and oils is met for them to be used in different applications.


Most waste oils will have a certain level of water contained within them. Sometimes this can be removed by storage over time as the oil and water will eventually split gravimetrically. However, other techniques like centrifugation and sonication can also encourage separation. Certain metallic impurities can help create emulsions and mono and di-glycerides are also natural emulsifiers which can lead to persisting emulsions when waste oils are delivered. These emulsions can be broken by using acids, heat or even specific demulsifiers.


Metallic impurities can be removed by using a variety of filter agents. Bleaching earths are commonly used and depending on the amount of removal required chelating agents can be used also. Other commercially available techniques like ion-exchange and electrodialysis can be used as well. Removing


26 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.164 AUGUST 2021


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.135 page 3


metallic impurities will improve the oxidative stability of oils and fats.


Plastic impurities can be seen in waste fats and oils, depending on their original source. Cellulosic filters can be used to removed them.


Solids can be removed by tri-cantering. This technique separates oil-water-solids.


Figure 2: Tri-canter used for water-oil-solids separation


Waste fats and oils are nearly always degraded comprising mono, di and tri-glycerides and free fatty acids. Depending on the application required the glycerol component can be removed. This can be carried out by a physico-chemical route or enzymatically by using lipases. [4] [5]


Once glycerol has been removed, we are left with fatty acids which can be separated further into constituent fatty acids or used as mixed fatty acids for a breadth of applications.


Critical in the handling of waste fats and oils is the use of the waste-from-waste. High Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) water can be used to produce biogas, as can some waste solids (sludges). Used filter media can be recycled using solvent extraction or can be used as a fuel source for biomass boilers for steam and energy production. [6]


Future Considerations It has been shown that there are significant amounts of waste fats and oils available which could be used


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