Waste Oil Heating is being used in many facilities across the country such as auto repair shops, car dealerships, trucking and bus companies, and agricultural companies where motor vehicle fleets generate large amounts of waste oil from maintenance operations. For these operations the waste oil disposal involved a waste oil hauler picking up the waste oil and filing small quantity waste generator reports and the cost varied from being paid a small amount per gallon to in some cases paying the hauler for disposal. Even paying for disposal does not end their responsibility for pollution caused by your waste oil. If disposed of improperly or stored improperly after it has been taken from their facility they could still be liable for environmental damages under the cradle to grave waste laws.
Many companies that generate waste have turned to burning waste oil to provide heat for their facility and found enormous savings. A gallon of waste oil typically contains energy of 150,000 to 240,000 BTU. The EPA allows the use of waste oil burners up to 500,000 BTU in size to burn the waste oil your facility generates. Some of the waste oils burned in a waste oil heater may include used engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, gear oil, industrial oils, and diesel oil that was too dirty to run in an engine. The waste oil burners can be either the furnace type or boiler type units depending on the size of your facility and the amount of oil you generate may provide all of your heating needs or part of your needs but generally the system will pay you back within a couple of years and end your cradle to grave hazardous waste responsibility.
Some of the things you need to consider is how much oil waste you generate per year at your facility and how much you will need for fuel. The law specifies that you must use the energy from burning the waste oil either as comfort heating or as process heating, you can’t just burn it for disposal purposes. Most locations will have a season where comfort heating is not required but will still generate oil. You need to determine if all of the oil generated in the off heating season will be needed or not and if you have the storage space for it.
The size of the heating unit needs to be considered based on your buildings heat load, which is a combination of size of the building, the insulation of the building, the climate you are located in, and even door sizes and how often and long they are opened. All this is taken into consideration when sizing a heating unit, which if properly figured, will leave you very pleased with the performance of the system.
The design of the system has to be considered as far as how it ties into your existing system or runs parallel to it boiler, or furnace, ducting or piping. Where the waste is generated and its storage location in relation to the heater, as many of the systems have maximum distances from the storage tank to the heater. Also where the heater is mounted and access to it is important. Burning waste oil is not as clean as burning #2 fuel oil. The heater will require frequent cleanings but the equipment is designed for easy cleaning and is often only a 30 minute job or less. Usually little more than opening an access door to vacuum out a pile of ash, and cleaning or, replacing a filter element.
While the US EPA allows the use of waste oil heaters local and state regulations should be checked. California does not allow their use as well as Ontario, Canada. The laws vary widely across the country and your installation needs to meet the requirements of the code and laws where you are located.
Some of the companies that make waste oil heaters are Energy Logic, Reznor, Burnsall, Alternate Heating Systems, Kagi, Lanair, EconoHeat, Firelake Manufacturing, and AgSolutions.