Southern Oil Refining: Securing the future of Australian oil refining

CSIRO assisted Southern Oil Refining to develop a new oil recycling process to facilitate it entering a new market.

The Challenge

Market demand for oils is expected to shift

Southern Oil Refining accelerated their business growth through a collaboration with CSIRO.

Wagga Wagga-based company Southern Oil Refining (SOR) produces a range of quality base oils recycled from waste lubricant oils. The company’s process is unlike traditional refining processes that use crude oil.

Re-refining has significant environmental benefits by preventing the release of waste oil into the environment and ensuring that contaminants are properly removed and safely disposed of.

“Our current base oil products meet Group I category, and while the domestic and international market for them remains strong, demand is expected to move to higher quality Group II oils in future,” says SOR research and development manager, Dick Dexter. “We wanted to get a step ahead and enter into the Group II market. To do this, we needed to find a way to remove the sulphur from our oils to improve their quality,” says Mr Dexter.

There was no information freely available around existing technologies, so the company had to undertake its own research.

Our Response

Developing a new re-refining process to improve quality

Our SME Engagement Centre assisted SOR to place researcher Michael Batten in the business to work together on a solution. “We undertook testing in the lab and then assessed which combination to remove the sulphur worked best and how to bring it to market,” says Dr Batten.

The Results

Securing the future of Australian oil refining

  • The team have come up with a new process that will improve the quality of SOR’s products
  • The company is moving ahead to trial the process at industrial scale
  • “We’re continuing to work with CSIRO beyond the Researchers in Business project to help bring it to market. Ongoing research and development is critical for the business to remain competitive, compliant and to meet changing market needs,” says Mr Dexter.

This project was supported by the Enterprise Connect Researchers in Business program, which was an Australian Government initiative which provided funding to support the placement of researchers directly into businesses to help them develop and implement new commercial ideas.


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