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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Costa Rica Leads Global Green Revolution with First Hydrocarbon-Free Vehicle Oils

Costa Rica is the first country in the world to produce vehicle oils without the need for hydrocarbon exploitation. METALUB inaugurated the first re-refining plant for motor lubricants in Central America, located in La Ceiba de Orotina. This 6,600-square-meter facility has the capacity to process 500,000 liters of used oil per month, recovering 375,000 liters of base oil.

The company is the result of a mixed investment of approximately $12 million from private sources, a private bond issue through Mercado de Valores, and a $3 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The company was born in 2019, and initially, it collected used oils and sent them to the United States for re-refining. Today, with its new plant, this process is carried out entirely in Costa Rica. The lubricants produced meet the global standards of the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“METALUB produces re-refined lubricants with global standards, comparable in quality and performance to the leading transnational brands. We are a sustainable option that protects both engines and the environment. As a proud Costa Rican company, we are an example of innovation in service of protecting the planet,” explained Jorge Jimenez, general manager of METALUB.

Traditionally, producing a single barrel of base oil (material for vehicle lubricants) requires the extraction of 84 barrels of crude oil. However, through METALUB’s re-refining processes, only 1.25 barrels of used oil are needed to produce a full barrel of base oil.

Generally, used oil is burned or improperly disposed of. In Costa Rica, MINAE data show that most used oil ends its life as cheap fuel for various industries. This process generates high carbon emissions and consumes a non-renewable resource that took the planet centuries to produce in less than a day.

Additionally, used oil can end up being improperly and unlawfully disposed of in soils and rivers, contaminating soil and groundwater. It is estimated that just 1 liter of lubricating oil can contaminate up to 1 million liters of water, equivalent to the drinking water supply of 28 people for 1 year.

METALUB, however, has the capacity to produce any type of lubricant from re-refined oils, keeping these resources in the country and generating local employment.

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