SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1999

Recycling Used Engine Coolant Using High-volume Stationary, Multiple Technology Equipment


Recycling used engine coolant has become increasingly desirable due to two significant factors. First, engine coolant frequently merits designation as a hazardous waste under the Federal Clean Water Act. Federal and some state environmental protection agencies have instituted strict regulation of the disposal of used engine coolant. In some cases, the disposal of engine coolant requires imposition of waste disposal fees and surcharges. Secondly, ethylene glycol, the principal cost component of engine coolant, has experienced dramatic price fluctuations and occasional shortages in supply. Therefore, there are both environmental and economic pressures to recycle engine coolant and recover the ethylene glycol component in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

This paper discusses a multistage apparatus and a process for recycling used engine coolant that employs a combination of filtration, centrifugation (hydrocyclone separation), dissolved air flotation, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, continuous deionization, and ion exchange processes for separating ethylene glycol and water from used engine coolant. The engine coolant is prefiltered through a series of filters. The filters remove particulate contaminates. This filtered fluid is then subjected to dissolved air flotation and centrifugation to remove petroleum. Then it is heated and pressurized prior to being passed over a series of two different sets of semipermeable membranes. The membrane technologies separate the feed stream into a “permeate” solution of ethylene glycol and water and a “concentrate” waste solution. The concentrate solution is returned to a concentrate tank for continuous circulation through the apparatus. The permeate solution is subjected to final refining by continuous deionization followed by a cation and anion ion exchange polishing process. The continuous deionization reduces ionic contaminants, and the ion exchange system eliminates any ionic contaminants left by the previous purification methods. A mechanical blender is used to mix the purified recovered fluid with fresh ethylene glycol (to adjust freeze point) and performance enhancing chemicals.

Author Information

Haddock, ME
Recycled Engine Coolants, Inc., Austin, TX
Eaton, ER
The Penray Companies, Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL
Price: $25.00
Contact Sales
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Developed by Committee: D15
Pages: 251–260
DOI: 10.1520/STP38250S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5566-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2610-7