The VMAT - Vibrating Membrane Used Lubricating Oil Recycling Technology (VMAT) developed by Dunwell Engineering Company Ltd (DECL) has received the “Silver Award – 2008 China National Environmental Protection Science Award” organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, People Republic of China presented on February 18, 2009. DECL is the first Hong Kong company that has won this National Award since its inception.

Used lubricants require proper handling and processes good value after recycling; improper handling otherwise would impose serious pollution to air, soil and water. VMAT is the state-of-the-art technology being identified and adopted internationally for its energy-efficient (85 C), cost-effective, easy-to-handle advantages, in contrast to many other traditional processes that require complex engineering skill sets, intensive energy consumption (350 C) and high capital investment. By running the used lubricants through VMAT process, used lubricant can actually be turned into various high-value products including finished lubricants, motor oil blending stock or quality boiler fuel. Many existing used lubricant recyclers around the world have been enquiring to adopt or retrofit VMAT into their premises for better economic returns.

Used lubricant has been identified by Chinese authorities during 2001 as a hazardous chemical waste that requires licensed facilities for proper treatment. Different hazardous waste treatment centers have been setup in various strategic locations within China; these centers are now adopting VMAT as their preferred treatment processes. VMAT had even been chosen as the green solution before the Green Olympics was held in Beijing during the summer of 2008. Unlike other technologies that can only be cost effective to run on a huge capacity (e.g. 30,000 cubic meters per year), VMAT’s versatile modular design has provided an affordable option to setup small to medium-size operations across China without having the need to transport tons of used lubricants from thousands of kilometers away.

VMAT had been awarded a few other international recognitions earlier:
2006 IChemE Environment Grand Award (London)
2006 Wall Street Journal’s Asian Innovation Award (Singapore)
2005 Hong Kong Awards for Industry: Machinery Design Grand Award (Hong Kong)

“We never stop improving our design and investing into R&D for our VMAT technology. Now VMAT has been evolved into the third generation which will also cater for an explosion-proof environment, we believe the prosperity and fast development of China would impose a huge demand of lubricants, irrespective of the recent financial tsunami,” said Daniel M. Cheng, managing director of Dunwell Group. “Burning the used lubricant as fuel is a waste; it causes CO2 and toxic heavy-metal emission, increases global warming and induces many secondary pollutions. We are ready to work with different design institutes, hazardous waste treatment centers and other strategic investors to roll out a bigger roadmap in China, to turn the black gold (used lubricant) into valuable products.”

Dunwell is a private company in Hong Kong that acquired the only used oil re-refinery by distillation in 1993; the previous owner was an Australian company which bankrupted and lost US$10 million in 18 months when they first invested in Hong Kong since 1990. Seeing the limitations of traditional high temperature distillation process, Dunwell has been focusing on R&D of new methodologies for used oil recycling and developed the VMAT system afterwards. VMAT is now becoming the world wide practice; installations have been set up in Indonesia, Mongolia, Beijing and Hong Kong and more will be set up in Shenzhen, Europe and South Africa within 2009.