Castrol Makes Oil From Dead Batteries, Trees and Gum

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It’s the equivalent of turning water into wine. Maybe even more impressive. Nexus, a subsidiary of the oil company Castrol, turned garbage into oil.

  • Castrol subsidiary developed “magical” solution to recycling oil
  • Proving the oil viable, Aston Martin raced a Vantage AMR Pro up the hill at Goodwood
  • While pretty cool, the solution seems as though it might be too little to late for the oil industry

Focused on innovation, Nexus gave itself the challenge of making a liter of automotive-grade oil from ingredients only found in garbage. The successful formula consisted of 180 pieces of chewing gum, half a liter of used fryer oil, one gram of silicone sealant, 14 batteries, one liter of used engine oil and a Christmas tree.

According to John Ward-Zinski, sustainability director at Nexcel, creating the chemical additives that improve lubrication performance in the oil proved the greatest challenge. Apparently, the refined oil works. At the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Aston Martin ran a Vantage AMR Pro on the stuff.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro

In addition to the transmutation of garbage to usable oil, Nexus also created what they call a “plug-and-play” oil change system. Instead of the messy draining of the oil pan and changing of the filter, all you have to do is swap out a box containing fresh oil and filter. More than just making changing an oil change simpler, the box keeps other chemicals from contaminating the oil and ruining it.

Though the idea of repurposing garbage for oil is cool, it seems to be coming a bit late. We are in the process of phasing out combustible engines that require oil products. As more and more electric cars come on line, the demand for Castrol’s products will continually decrease.

While I don’t like to be a cynic, Castrol pumping money into the Nexus division seems like a move to show the company getting on board with sustainable solutions. But, sustainable solutions for an unsustainable product seems misguided. Additionally, Castrol doesn’t mention how much energy is used to recycle the oil. Instead of trying to save its product from obsolescence, perhaps Castrol should invest in creating new products to serve electric vehicles.

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