Onsite Oil Purification: A More Sustainable Way To Treat Used Oil

September 04, 2021 3 min read

AAR PetroTech is a partnership between Petroleum Technology Inc. (PetroTech), a manufacturer of oil purification and reclamation equipment, and AAR Corp., a provider of aviation services such as aircraft maintenance and parts supply. This partnership offers hydraulic oil purification systems to a wide variety of airline companies.

oil purification engine

Benefits of Oil Purification

For many decades, manufacturers have merely thrown away used oil and replaced it with new oil. Not only does this practice cost a lot of money, but it also causes harm to the environment and maintains an unnecessarily high demand for oil. Oil purification is an alternative practice that reduces both cost and environmental impact. Its benefits include the following:

  • Reduced expenses: Being able to purify and reuse oil eliminates the need to purchase new replacement oil. According to Haig Hachadoorian, the owner of AAR PetroTech Inc. and pioneer of portable oil purification systems, oil purification can make hydraulic components last ten times their usual lifespans. This extended lifespan reduces the cost needed to maintain and repair equipment.
  • Less hazardous waste: Whatever method you use to dispose of used oil, it is still harmful to the environment one way or another. Oil leaks and spills due to improper disposal can pollute the ground and aquifers. This consequently harms humans, animals, and plants. If oil is burned, it produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, harming the atmosphere.

Compliance with the ISO 14001 standard incentivizes companies to implement environment-friendly practices in their workplaces. This is a standard for the environmental management systems for businesses and organizations. It requires waste-generating workplaces to reduce pollution caused by the disposal of chemicals like oil, diesel fuel, and acids. An ISO 14001 certification helps your company’s image to clients, partners, and employees.

  • Less frequent oil transport and disposal: On-site oil purification also reduces the risks associated with waste transport and disposal. Less oil transport means fewer chances for an oil spill and its environmental, financial, and legal repercussions. 
danger hazardous waste site

Oil Purification Methods

Contaminants in used oil vary in size and chemical composition. The most common contaminants found in used oil are solid particles, water, acids, oil sludge, gases, and asphalt-resinous paraffin deposits. Different contaminants are eliminated through varying methods, such as the following:

  • Sedimentation: This method separates solid contaminants from the oil. This is done by leaving the used oil still and allowing solid particles to settle at the bottom of the container. This process does not require special equipment. The downside, however, is that it takes a long time and that it does not remove non-solid and dissolved contaminants in the oil.
  • Filtration: This process also removes solid contaminants of various sizes. It involves passing the oil through filters. Generally, oil filtration systems use multiple layers of filters with different meshes in order to catch both bulky and fine particles. Like sedimentation, this method is limited to solid contaminants and cannot filter out liquid or gaseous impurities.
  • Centrifugation: This treatment uses a centrifuge machine to separate the oil from solid impurities and polar liquids, such as water.
  • Adsorption purification: This method uses adsorbents—such as silica gels, bleaching clays, and synthetic aluminosilicates—to remove liquid contaminants like oil sludge, water, or aging products. It does not remove solid or gas contaminants.

Adsorption is also not very friendly to the environment as used adsorbents are usually either burned or thrown into landfills. However, like oils, adsorbents can also be reused after a process called “regeneration”. Methods for this process also vary depending on the contaminant present in the adsorbent.

  • Vacuum treatment: This process separates dissolved liquids and gases from the oil. This is done by heating the used oil in a vacuum chamber. The water in the oil vaporizes and the vacuum pump sucks out the gases and vaporized water.

AAR PetroTech’s portable oil purification system combines filtration and low-temperature vacuum treatment. First, it passes the used oil through ultra-fine filters to remove solid dirt, metals, and other solid contaminants. The vacuum treatment then gets rid of gas and liquid contaminants. The end product is reusable oil purified from all solid, gas, and liquid contaminants.


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Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.


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