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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

How to reduce the effect of oil on the environment

As the global population grows, consuming more energy, natural resources and the environment are increasingly under threat. One product that has a particularly bad reputation is oil; with many organisations working on how to reduce the effect of oil on the environment, while still meeting the ever increasing energy requirements.
To highlight the environmental impact: The used lubricant from one motor vehicle's change can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh
water - a years' supply for 50 people!
One way to reduce the effect of oil on the environment is to recycle this used lubricant:
  • Recycled lube can be re-refined into new product, processed into fuel for burners and used as raw materials for the petroleum industry.
  • One gallon of used lube provides the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude.
But what if you could use lubricant for twice as long? Halve the amount used? Surely this would reduce the effect of oil on the environment even more? You don’t even need to make any changes to equipment... all you do is switch to synthetic lubricants. As easy as that!
Synthetics accomplish this by being engineered to reduce degradation, specifically oxidation, which occurs when atmospheric oxygen combines with hydrocarbon molecules in mineral oils. This chemical change results in the catastrophic and permanent change to a different chemical make-up for the oil molecule.
The rate at which this change occurs depends on a number of factors, but the most prevalent is temperature. A good rule of thumb is that oxidation doubles for every 10 degrees Celsius above 75 degrees Celsius, or; for every 10 degrees Celsius the temperature is increased, you halve the life of the oil. Synthetic lubricants retard this deterioration to the point where it becomes negligible in normal operating ranges.
But this is not the only way in which synthetic oil can reduce the effect of oil on the environment. What if you could reduce the amount of energy required to achieve a given performance?
Synthetic lubricants are engineered to reduce friction, and by so doing reduce frictional losses and energy required. This increase in efficiency means that less fuel is consumed, or that less electrical energy would be needed. In both scenarios the energy savings using synthetic lubricants means that less oil needs to be consumed. This in turn means less air born pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere.
And if you wish to reduce the effect of oil on the environment even further, you could always use bio-degradable synthetic fluids.
These products are often used to ensure that any leakage would not have a catastrophic environmental impact. Applications include agriculture, forestry and even marine.
Merely by replacing crude based products with synthetics will reduce the effect of oil on the environment, as less crude has to be pumped out of the earth and transported in mass carriers over great distances - often in huge tankers. Who hasn’t seen the environmental effects of a super-tanker sinking? What about the BP fiasco? All of these can be eliminated using synthetics that can easily be produced close to the consuming market.
To sum up: Not only will synthetic lubricants reduce the effect of oil on the environment, but they also offer improved performance and extended equipment life. Which all result in cost saving. Now that’s what’s known as a win-win solution!


Jeff Hardy said...
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