Nav: Home

From crankcase to gas tank: New microwave method converts used motor oil into fuel

March 28, 2011

ANAHEIM, March 28, 2011 -- That dirty motor oil that comes out of your car or truck engine during oil changes could end up in your fuel tank, according to a report presented here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). It described development of a new process for recycling waste crankcase oil into gasoline-like fuel -- the first, they said, that uses microwaves and has "excellent potential" for going into commercial use.

"Transforming used motor oil into gasoline can help solve two problems at once," said study leader Howard Chase, Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. "It provides a new use for a waste material that's too-often disposed of improperly, with harm to the environment. In addition, it provides a supplemental fuel source for an energy-hungry world."

Estimates suggest that changing the oil in cars and trucks produces about 8 billion gallons of used motor oil each year around the world. In the United States and some other countries, some of that dirty oil is collected and re-refined into new lubricating oil or processed and burned in special furnaces to heat buildings. Chase noted, however, that such uses are far from ideal because of concerns over environmental pollution from re-refining oil and burning waste oil. And in many other countries, used automotive waste oil is discarded or burned in ways that can pollute the environment.

Scientists thus are looking for new uses for that Niagara of waste oil, growing in volume as millions of people in China, India, and other developing countries acquire cars. Among the most promising recycling techniques is pyrolysis, a process that involves heating oil at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. Pyrolysis breaks down the waste oil into a mix of gases, liquids, and a small amount of solids. The gases and liquids can then be chemically converted into gasoline or diesel fuel. However, the current processes heat the oil unevenly, producing gases and liquids not easily converted into fuel.

Chase and his research team say the new method overcomes this problem and uses their new pyrolysis technology. In lab studies, his doctoral students, Su Shiung Lam and Alan Russell, mixed samples of waste oil with a highly microwave-absorbent material and then heated the mixture with microwaves. The pyrolysis process appears to be highly efficient, converting nearly 90 percent of a waste oil sample into fuel. So far, the scientists have used the process to produce a mixture of conventional gasoline and diesel.

"Our results indicate that a microwave-heated process shows exceptional promise as a means for recycling problematic waste oil for use as fuel," Chase and Lam said. "The recovery of valuable oils using this process shows advantage over traditional processes for oil recycling and suggests excellent potential for scaling the process to the commercial level."
-end-
The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

Related Oil Articles:

The chemistry of olive oil (video)
Whether you have it with bread or use it to cook, olive oil is awesome.
Research for an oil (palm) change
In recent research, scientists have developed a technique that shows great promise for helping oil palm growers optimize production and reduce environmental impacts.
Researchers ask important questions on what happens to oil after a spill
Very little is known about what happens to oil in the ocean after an oil spill and what happens to it once a chemical dispersant has been applied.
Deepwater Horizon oil shows up in sparrows
Scientists have identified the first evidence of Deepwater Horizon oil in a land animal -- the Seaside Sparrow.
Nanofur for oil spill cleanup
Some water ferns can absorb large volumes of oil within a short time, because their leaves are strongly water-repellent and, at the same time, highly oil-absorbing.
Can palm oil be sustainable?
A new study shows to where and to what extent palm oil plantations could be expanded, while avoiding further deforestation in pristine and carbon-rich tropical forests.
Virgin olive oil and hypertension
Oleic acid plus a constellation of minor constituents as a natural antihypertensive.
New surface makes oil contamination remove itself
Researchers of Aalto University have developed surfaces where oil transports itself to desired directions.
Genetic potential of oil-eating bacteria from the BP oil spill decoded
Microbiologists have cracked the genetic code of how bacteria broke down oil to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, revealing that some bacteria have far greater potential for consuming oil than was previously known.
Time to rethink your vegetable oil?
Risk of heart disease and diabetes may be lowered by a diet higher in a lipid found in grapeseed and other oils, but not in olive oil, a new study suggests.

Related Oil Reading:

Oil!
by Upton Sinclair (Author)

There Will Be Blood wins a 2008 Golden Globes Award. Read about it here.

There Will Be Blood wins two 2008 Academy Awards. Read about it here.

Penguin Books is proud to now be the sole publisher of Oil!, the classic 1927 novel by Upton Sinclair. After writing The Jungle, his scathing indictment of the meatpacking industry, Sinclair turned his sights on the early days of the California oil industry in a highly entertaining story featuring a cavalcade of characters including senators, oil magnets, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading... View Details


Lucy Libido Says.....There's an Oil for THAT: A Girlfriend's Guide to Using Essential Oils Between the Sheets (1) (Volume 1)
by Lucy Libido (Author), J. S. (Creator)

Vavavoom! Meet Lucy Libido, your new best friend who will guide you through using essential oils between the sheets. Based on the smashingly popular Lucy Libido class, this hilarious yet informative book will teach you natural hormone balancing, oils that increase libido, and oils that increase your man's performance. She even includes her best oil recipes that have left her fans starry-eyed and smiling. Developed by a woman for a woman, "There's an Oil for THAT" gives you all the tips, tricks, and fun in one easy to read book that you'll want to store at your bedside. View Details


The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way
by Eric Zielinski D.C. (Author)

Eric Zielinski, D.C., host of the Essential Oils Revolution summits, offers a soup-to-nuts guide to mastering essential oils for vibrant health and well-being, featuring dozens of recipes and formulations for restful sleep, reduced inflammation, balanced hormones, and more.

Achieving true health is not an easy task. For many people, it might be easier to pop a pill or push aside lingering discomfort in favor of finishing everything on your to-do list. In The Healing Power of Essential Oils, Eric Zielinski, D.C. shows readers how to make their health a priority with... View Details


The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power
by Daniel Yergin (Author)

Deemed "the best history of oil ever written" by Business Week and with more than 300,000 copies in print, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning account of the global pursuit of oil, money, and power has been extensively updated to address the current energy crisis. View Details


Oil 101
by Morgan Downey (Author)

OIL 101 is a straightforward guide to oil and an essential read for anyone coming to grips with where oil prices, the economy and society are headed.

In OIL 101, Downey provides the facts one needs to understand oil, from its history and chemistry, to refining, finished products, storage, transportation, alternatives, and how prices are determined every day in global wholesale oil markets and how those markets are connected to prices at the pump. View Details


The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments
by Valerie Ann Worwood (Author)

A necessary resource for anyone interested in alternative approaches to healing and lifestyle, this book contains more than 800 easy-to-follow recipes for essential oil treatments. Now, completely updated, the best book on the topic available anywhere has just gotten better. No one has provided more thorough and accurate guidance to the home practitioner or professional than Valerie Ann Worwood.

In her clear and positive voice, Worwood offers readers tools to address a huge variety of health issues, including specific advice for children, women, men, and seniors, as well as self... View Details


Modern Essentials: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils 9th Edition
by Modern Essential (Author)

Our most popular hardcover book just got better. Modern Essentials: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils is amazingly practical for anyone wanting to learn about essential oils and their everyday uses. It is the ultimate guide, whether you are a new or experienced essential oils user. The simple, easy-to-use format has been improved to help you quickly find important information: which essential oils to use for hundreds of health conditions, how to safely and effectively apply them, and ways to incorporate oils into daily living. This book is an indispensable reference... View Details


Smart Mom's Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home and Happier You
by Mariza Snyder (Author)

Offers over 50 of the most useful essential oil recipes for tackling every mom's daily needs
As a mother, you are always looking for ways to make your family safer, happier and healthier. This book shows how essential oils can help you achieve all those things. And you’ll save money!

An easy-to-use handbook for creating natural solutions, green cleaners, and toxin-free personal care items, the Smart Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils provides pure and potent recipes, including:

• Peppermint and Grapefruit energizing air diffusion
• Fennel and Eucalyptus... View Details


Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo
by Stephanie Storey (Author)

In her brilliant debut, Storey brings early 16th-century Florence alive, entering with extraordinary empathy into the minds and souls of two Renaissance masters, creating a stunning art history thriller. From 1501 to 1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome fifty year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-twenties, desperate to make a name for himself.

Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he returns to Florence and wins the commission to carve what will... View Details


Essential Oils Pocket Reference 7th Edition
by Life Science Publishing (Author)

The Essential Oils Pocket Reference is a condensed version of the popular Essential Oil Desk Reference. It is divided into 7 chapters with 3 appendices, containing usage in history and modern medicine, the top scientific research, methods to safely use and apply essential oils, and much more. The Essential Oils Pocket Reference includes a directory (single oils, blends and personal usage). Features Young Living oil blends and formulations. View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Peering Deeper Into Space
The past few years have ushered in an explosion of new discoveries about our universe. This hour, TED speakers explore the implications of these advances — and the lingering mysteries of the cosmos. Guests include theoretical physicist Allan Adams, planetary scientist Sara Seager, and astrophysicists Natasha Hurley-Walker and Jedidah Isler.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#461 Adhesives
This week we're discussing glue from two very different times. We speak with Dr. Jianyu Li about his research into a new type of medical adhesive. And Dr. Geeske Langejans explains her work making and investigating Stone Age and Paleolithic glues.