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Mar 31
fuel blending

Fuel Blending Hazardous Waste: Pros & Cons

Fuel blending is a process that involves the mixture of hazardous materials/waste and commercial fuel to meet the specifications needed for incineration, cement kiln, or an industrial furnace. Fuel blending utilizes another approach to environmental sustainability through alternative fuel methods. Specific organizations can blend a mixture of hazardous liquids, waste, and sludge to create alternative fuel.

Fuel blending’s two-pronged approach to environmental sustainability seems like a win-win for waste management companies looking to meet their sustainability objectives and lowering overall pollution. However, techniques such as this require an all-encompassing and objective look at the negatives and positives. So what does fuel blending offer?

Pros:

Recyclability

Fuel blending enables millions of tons worth of hazardous waste materials, such as industrial solvents, to be blended with “on-spec” materials to create alternative fuel. The influence of fuel blending is found in every gas station and gasoline-powered automation around the globe. The most popular type of alternative fuel to come from fuel blending is ethanol. To directly combat the use of fossil fuels, ethanol was fermented and produced from recyclable materials, blended with gasoline and used as a “flex-fuel” to lower overall emissions. This fuel blending process has also been used to generate recycled solvents and thinners.

Bio-Blended Fuels/Synthetic Ethanol

Synthetic ethanol is a result of blending recyclable hazardous solvents into a usable compound courtesy of fuel blending. The major use of industrial/synthetic ethanol is as a solvent of chemical synthesis. Approximately 60% of US Industrial demand goes to solvent applications go into pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaning supplies, inks, coatings, and more. Synthetic is also used as a medium in the manufacture of ethyl acetate, ethyl acrylate, acetic acid, and more. Another notable attribute is its use in food additives and beverages.

Cons:

Less Energy Production

Fuel blending uses fermented liquids, sludge, and certain solids to produce solvents and flex fuels like automobile ethanol. While the emissions of using E 15-85 grade gasoline are notably more ecologically friendly, ethanol-blended fuel it sacrifices the overall mileage of any car. While some vehicles are specifically designed to utilize the most out of ethanol gas, most vehicles that are not fuel-flexible can experience a notable 25-30% drop in gas mileage.

Environmental Impact

When hazardous materials are shipped off to distilleries to create recycled solutions, there is usually an ecological pay-out in the process. One example of this is using fuel blending to extract the solvent known as acetone. Acetone is a strong solvent that is used in many plastics, synthetic fibers, dissolving two-part epoxies, and even used in certain paints and varnishes. It is during the distillation of the liquids and the extraction of acetone where the environmental cost comes into play. In other words, in order to reduce environmental hazards through the recycling of certain solvents and liquids, you must go through environmental pollution. Theoretically, this creates diminishing returns.

Alpha Environmental: Hazardous Waste Experts

There has been a progression in the field of fuel blending that has made everyday life more comfortable and eco-friendly. Similarly, there are evident drawbacks that also give reason to show that this practice may not be as effective. 

If you are looking for hazardous waste experts with praised customer service, over 20+ years of experience, and environmental work you can trust, call Alpha Environmental today.

Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.