Success Story: Avista Oil

The upcycling of used oil began here decades ago

Used oil has become a valuable raw material, the reuse of used oils a sustainable way to meet the world’s demand for mineral oil products. Avista Oil AG is a German company at the forefront of developing and optimizing the processes required for the treatment and reclaiming of used oil.

Refining and re-refining

The reuse of used oil requires “rerefining”, a process which removes the impurities, both soluble and insoluble, accumulated in used oils and redistills the used oil to produce base oil. Keeping oils in a continuous loop of use, collection, rerefining, reuse, collection, and so on makes an enormous saving of CO2 emissions. Every tonne of used oil collected and rerefined prevents the need for the use and transport of 29 tonnes of crude oil.1

Avista Oil has the only base oil upcycling process to have received an environmental award from the EU commission. “Everyone knows what ‘recycling’ is,” explains Jens Lenk, head of the Lubrication Laboratory at the Avista Oil AG premises near Hanover. “But ‘upcycling’ is more accurate in this case. ‘Recycling’ makes something new from something old. With ‘upcycling’ the new product is just as good as, if not better than, the old one. The base oil we produce from used oil has the same high quality as base oil made directly from crude and even better properties, in fact.”

The story of Avista Oil began in 1951, before anyone had heard of ‘sustainability’ and ‘upcycling’. What started with a small rerefining plant in North Germany grew to include specialized oil collection companies with fleets of tankers, a patented rerefining plant, and subsidiaries and affiliates in Europe and the U.S. The company is now the largest sustainable rerefinery group in the world, with a capacity for upcycling over 300,000 t of used oil per year.

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