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Radiation in used oil

When engine oil is discarded without suitable treatment it can turn into a contaminant that is dangerous for the environment, containing compounds such as sulphur, calcium, iron and nickel that can pollute both soil and rivers. As an alternative to the conventional chemical treatment process, which mixes the end product with new oil, researchers from the National Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (Ipen) have developed a system that eliminates the contaminants, does the recycling and also obtains by-products that are not available in the traditional process, like compounds for the lubricants’, paints’ and resins’ industry. Carried out by researcher Ivone Mulako Sato and by PhD student Marcos Scapin, from Ipen’s Chemistry and Environment Center, the new method uses gamma radiation, by irradiation from the institute’s source of cobalt-60. “The process still needs to be finalized, but it has already shown that it’s economically viable”, says Ivone.