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Integrated green life-cycle management of waste oils and petroleum residues (ELINA)
Start date: Sep 1, 2011, End date: Feb 28, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Waste oils and petroleum residues (WO&PR) contain primary hydrocarbons. They can also contain additives, such as lead, and impurities due to physical contamination and chemical reactions that occur during use. Contamination can also occur from mixing with other oily fluids or liquid wastes and this can affect recovery or recycling/regeneration operations. Large-scale producers of WO&PR include shipping companies, power generation facilities, industries and ports. WO&PR represent a significant proportion of the volume of organic waste liquids generated in Europe. Today, in Greece, there are three legal methods to handle this waste: 1. Collection, possible pre-processing (e.g. in ports or off shore, separated waters are discarded in the sea) and disposal at crude oil refineries for re-refining; 2. Mixing with wood-chips for the production of a stable secondary fuel, with a relatively low-heat capacity, for use in cement kilns; 3. Exporting for disposal abroad. These methods, however, have significant problems, such as mixing with waste lubricants (primarily in ports and industries) which according to legislation must follow other sustainable waste management solutions. Such practices affect both the quality of lube oils produced from re-refining of waste lube oils and the re-generation capacity of the collected WO&PR. The sustainable management of WO&PR is particularly important due to the large quantities generated – about 170 000 tonnes per year in Greece – the possible impact on the environment and health if they are not properly handled, treated or disposed of, and their potential for production of new products by regeneration and other techniques. A large range of WO&PR can be recycled after separation from other content materials. Firstly, however, it is necessary to recycle the hydrocarbon content of WO&PR, and to improve the quality of the products manufactured. Regeneration of waste oil could reduce the amounts of waste going to final disposal, with significant economic benefits. Objectives The ELINA project aimed to address and implement EU and Greek legislation on the integrated management of waste oils and petroleum residues by setting up collection points, improving collection techniques, raising awareness among stakeholders and completing the necessary environmental infrastructure for closed-loop life-cycle management of waste WO&PR. It also aimed to set up a pilot demonstration project for the separation at source of WO&PR. The project further aimed to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, specifically lubricant oils and petroleum, with a life-cycle approach, in order to decouple environmental impact from economic growth by regenerating and recycling WO&PR into a ‘new product’, rather than extracting further resources. In the context of the new Waste Framework Directive, the project focuses in particular on the application of the waste hierarchy in waste policies by promoting WO&PR regeneration. The project aimed to contribute to the further development of national legislation addressing waste arising from these sources. It would also contribute to the implementation of the EU POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Regulation: WO&PR are often sent for illegal burning, thus resulting in the production of POPs (dioxins). By setting up a proper waste management scheme and utilising these wastes for regeneration their illegal burning and release of POPs will be prevented. Results The ELINA project addressed the integrated green life-cycle management of WO&PR. (WO&PR are the largest petroleum derived waste stream and are produced mainly from ships and large scale industries.) ELINA is particularly important not only for the integrated management of WO&PR but also for the sustainable management of other petroleum derived waste stream, such as waste lube oils (WLO), since WO&PR and WLO are often mixed at source by the waste producers. The mixing of different waste stream complicates the integrated management and regeneration process of each waste stream. The ELINA project produced a catalogue of sources (waste producers and points) and quantities of waste oils and petroleum residues (WO&PR) generated in Greece from the shipping and industrial sectors. It found that ships generate the vast majority of WO&PR quantities (more than 90% of total). The project distributed 230 questionnaires, of which 74 completed enabling the cataloguing of 15 700 tonnes per year from non-marine activities and 150 000 tonnes from ports. More than 7 200 tonnes of waste oils and petroleum residues from almost 500 locations were collected and managed accordingly, with priority given to regeneration when feasible. The project processed the collected WO&PR residues, producing asphalt extender and intermediate petroleum product to be further processed by crude oil refineries. Additionally, the project identified the chemical composition of waste oils and petroleum residues produced from over 600 sources, correlating their composition with the recovery routes that can apply. A catalogue of existing infrastructure for the environmentally sound and certified processing of waste oils and petroleum residues was also produced, along with proposals for expanding/improving environmental infrastructure and management routes applied. The project also carried out a pilot separation at source of waste oils and petroleum residues on two passenger vessels, resulting in the recovery of more than 80 tonnes of separated-at-source WO&PR. This quantity, however, could not be handled by the project and was thus collected by the port waste management contractor, HEC. Samples were provided to the project team. Six stakeholder forum meetings were held for the strengthening of national producer responsibility legislation in this field. Representatives from more than 100 stakeholders participated in the six meetings. The project moreover provided advice and collaborated with selected sites (industry and maritime) on the separate collection and management of used lube oils and waste oils/residues. A ‘green’ good practice guide was produced and distributed. Furthermore, a database of more than 1 000 stakeholders was compiled, and events, newsletters and other printed communication materials targeted stakeholders from the public and private sector in Greece. Overall, the project paved the way for the management of WO&PR as a separate waste stream, through a dedicated scheme, similar to the one applying to waste lube oils. WO&PR has in fact been included in the National Waste Strategy of Greece, following three meeting with the Greek environment ministry and its inclusion on the agenda of 10 board meeting of the Hellenic Recycling Agency. As a consequence, the agency financed a study for setting up a sustainable scheme for managing WO&PR. The ELINA project noted how a legislation tailored to WO&PR management – and, in particular, on the separate collection of the respective waste streams originating from the maritime sector – is missing. This is due to the fact that this issue is mainly regulated by international conventions such as the IMO The Convention of MARPOL 73/78 and its Annexes, which cover issues relevant to the handling of the WO&PR in the ship. But the project demonstrated how relevant legislation should be extended in order to also regulate the WO&PR management and the whole logistics chain and the processing of the respective quantities by inland stakeholders. Accordingly, the project suggests that the EU policy areas be extended in order to bridge the gap among off-shore and inland management of WO&PR. The pilot collection of WO&PR from inland sources, which was one of the project's demonstration actions, was implemented successfully; it demonstrated that in practice it is feasible to create an industrial symbiosis between WO&PR producers and managers. It showed that WO&PR and its condensation could be separated on board prior to delivery at the calling port authorities with little investment, an important environmental innovation for the shipping industry – so long as there is enough space for setting up additional storage tanks within the engine rooms and the staff are trained properly. The collected WO&PR, either form inland sources or ships, can result in the production of high value products, through regeneration, avoiding their burning or their export as hazardous waste. Regeneration can result in significant environmental, social and economic benefits. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).

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