Period of Performance: 08/08/2015 - 08/07/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Media and Process Technology Inc.
1155 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Nationwide about 2.4 billion gallons of lubricants are consumed annually for automotive crankcase (about 58%), industrial processes, machine lubrication, mining, and others. About 1 billion gallons/yr is currently collected as waste oil, equivalent to1-1.5% of annual US crude oil import volume. Presently, about 9% of the collected used oil is re-refined at six facilities in US. The majority of this resource is currently burned as fuel. A report issued by the DOE in 2006 in response to The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1838 highlights that the major impediment to expanding lube oil re-refining is investment costs required to design and construct new facilities for re-refining. According to the literature, about $40million in front end capital investment is required for a 30 million gallon per year (MGY) re-refining facility. This explains why the capital investment cost is listed as the primary impediment for expanding current re-refining capacity. Media and Process Technology Inc has been involved in the re-refining of waste oil using an innovative separation process which does not involve phase separation and hydrotreating as in the conventional technology. Thus, the re-refining facility can be designed and constructed in a small scale and modular operation without paying an economy of scale penalty. This not only reduces the front end capital investment per facility, but makes it uniquely suitable for regional re-refining operations to match waste oil supplies, as opposed to the conventional technology requiring a centralized operation to justify its large capital investment. A semi-works facility has been in operation for 9 months to demonstrate the innovative industrial membrane system we developed. About 50,000 gallons of re-refined has been produced and sold to blenders. In addition we have identified two dirty oils available in refineries which can benefit from our innovative membrane system. A lab feasibility study was performed to demonstrate its technical and economical viability. We plan to expand our existing re-refining pilot operation to a semi-works facility to demonstrate the performance and economics of our upgraded re-refining process for petroleum-based waste oil. Then, we plan to establish the 1st regional re-refining center with our operational partner to showcase the technology and process and in parallel begin the deployment of the regional centers nationwide. Also we will pursue the commercialization of the applications involving two dirty oil streams. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits. Our re-refining technology could positively impact the national energy consumption profile via an economically driven approach, potentially resulting in a 4-10% reduction in crude oil imports and significant reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Nationwide, waste oil re-refining with this technology is expected to create job opportunities. Further, the technology is readily exportable.