In cars and trucks
Known best as coolant or antifreeze, mono ethylene glycol (MEG) has numerous industrial applications thanks to its chemical properties. The low freezing point lends it to use as an antifreeze in automotive applications where use is extensive in internal combustion engines to protect the engine from freezing while at the same time protect against corrosion. The coolant also sustains the overall engine heat balance by efficiently removing heat.
In oil and gas
While it is also used as an intermediate and raw material in the production of explosives and resins, another large volume application is in the LNG (liquid natural gas) industry where mono ethylene glycol is used as a thermodynamic inhibitor. MEG (but also salt solutions or alcohol) is added to the natural gas to prevent hydrates from forming and freezing in the pipelines and to prevent corrosion.
Natural gas hydrates are ice-like solids that form when water and natural gas molecules combine unintentionally. This phenomenon can occur in gas wells and subsea pipelines where conditions are perfect.
Mono ethylene glycol is toxic to life and harmful for the environment due to its inherent chemical nature. It is produced from the hydrocarbon ethylene, which in turn is hydrated using a thermal or catalytic production process. In addition as a result of its use there will be by-products present, including heavy metals and other organic and inorganic molecules.
At the end of its useful life, glycol should be handled and disposed of appropriately – often it is not. Despite being listed as a schedule 5 poison, up until now the majority of coolants are disposed of to the sewer system, to compost, to landfill, or added to waste oil as a way of disposal by dilution.
Benzoil is working with our infrastructure partners Global Resource Recovery to offer aggregation, collection and processing capabilities for bulk glycol. Global Resource Recovery has established two strategically located facilities across Australia. Melbourne is positioned perfectly to service the eastern seaboard by road, rail and sea, while the Darwin plant is poised to receive waste coolants and MEG from the northern reaches and west.
In simple terms the process recovers the MEG, with water and chemical impurities removed. The MEG is reprocessed back into new coolant which is marketed exclusively by our channel partners. Purchasing recycled mono ethylene glycol is beneficial to the environment as well as being a cost effective alternative to the virgin material.