Santa Fe company will make fuel with used lubricants based on technological development of the UNL – Diario El Ciudadano y la Región

Santa Fe company will make fuel with used lubricants based on technological development of the UNL – Diario El Ciudadano y la Región
Santa Fe company will make fuel with used lubricants based on technological development of the UNL – Diario El Ciudadano y la Región

Based on a licensing agreement signed by the National University of the Litoral, the company Pozzi Engineering, from the city of San Justo, will be able to commercially exploit a technology that allows recycling used mineral lubricating oils to transform them into alternative fuels, a development that reduces the pollution and at the same time adds value to a waste.

The technology was developed by members of the Program for the Valorization, Development and Scaling of Agroindustrial Processes (Provade) of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering (FIQ-UNL).

Licensing allows the commercial exploitation of the technology and know-how, developed by itself or by third parties, both in Argentina and abroad in commercial, industrial and service activities. The technology has already been tested on a pilot scale. Combining a neutralization process, distillation at atmospheric pressure to separate water and light hydrocarbons, and another vacuum distillation process to separate heavy products.

Technological and business solution for an environmental problem

The oils commonly used in vehicle engines constitute an environmental problem if they are not treated properly. Many times, they are discharged into rivers, affecting the channel, the soil and the water tables. “The solution we found consists of eliminating the contaminants that the oil picks up during use and recovering its lubricating base. This can be converted back into a lubricant by adding the necessary additives or used as fuel,” explained researcher Juan Carlos Yori.

The team he is part of started from a problem identified in the town of San Justo, where there was no collection of used lubricating oils. They generated the technology on a laboratory scale, which made it possible to verify the viability of recovering the oils. Then, they developed a processing plant.

Yori highlighted “the University’s commitment to the development of technologies that SMEs in the region are lacking, which are generators of employment and growth. It is important to understand it in this context.”

His colleague Adrian Bonivardi pointed out that the project started in 2017. “It is one of the many examples in which UNL, and in particular the Faculty of Chemical Engineering, transfers knowledge that is generated in the university sector to the environment. We are proud because it implies a demonstration of the role of the University, which not only trains human and professional resources, but also the value of the concrete application of knowledge for the transformation of the socio-productive environment.”

Matías Pozzi, co-owner of the company that bears his name, added that the project “is very advanced and they are close to putting the plant into operation and making the first production operational.” The fuel into which the used oil will be transformed, he noted, may be used for “consumption in boilers, grain dryers and other equipment.”

Due to the great potential of the technology developed by UNL, there are already other projects in the pipeline that will use the same pilot plant, also to add value to discarded materials.

“The project is a clear example of how the technological link between the university and companies becomes a fundamental way to generate innovations and solve problems in the territory. In this case, it is an SME from the interior of the country that accesses a technology that allows it to recover polluting waste to convert it into new products, adding value and generating jobs,” explained Ulises Rossin, director of the Research Results Transfer Center. (Cetri Litoral), dependent on the Secretariat of Technological Linkage and Innovation of the UNL.

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