Employees at the 25 Five Rivers MetroParks facilities in the greater Dayton, Ohio area recently started collecting used motor oil from service vehicles that maintain the system’s nearly 15,000 acres.
They’re recycling the used-oil to generate heat for their offices and workshop. The environmentally friendly effort has spurred neighboring businesses and residents to contribute their used oil to the earth-friendly action.
According to Dave Spitler, assistant park manager, he was searching for a better way to heat buildings other than using wood-burning stoves. “There was a big cost factor in man hours to have staff members cut and split wood for the stoves,” said Spitler. “The Clean Burn furnace that we’ve installed is an economical and ecological solution for Five Rivers MetroParks.”
Used oil storage tanks now collect hundreds of gallons of recycled motor oil from the park’s 99 fleet vehicles, 98 small motorized vehicles (including Gators and lawn mowers), as well as community contributions. After being refined, the oil is pushed through a filter and pre-heated. Then the oil is injected into the Clean Burn furnace and burned at 1,800 degrees. The high temperatures create low emissions (less than 1% allowable by EPA standards) and generate enough heat to warm the park’s 2,400-square-foot facility.
Prior to obtaining the Clean Burn system, the park hired contractors to haul away and dispose of used oil. That costly process had the potential for environmental damage through spills and used more fossil fuels for transporting the waste oil. The furnace saves labor hours from the cutting of timber and provides an environmental, on-site system for recycling used motor oil.
“I’ve sent oil recycle barrels to all MetroParks facilities to collect their used oil,” Spitler said. “Each park saves money since they no longer have to pay anyone to properly dispose of the oil. We bring the full barrels to the central furnace area and replace them with empty barrels. This is a sensible solution that would be viable for other parks nationwide to adapt in order to save money and close the loop on recycling efforts.”
There are 80,000 Clean Burn functional furnaces and boilers located throughout the world that burn millions of gallons of used-oil each year on-site, at the point of generation. This volume of used-oil would otherwise be transported on highway systems and pose a considerable risk to spills and/or contamination to the environment.