Oil and Filter Recovery

Since its expansion in 2004, the Grassano hub in Predosa (Alessandria) has become a facility for the treatment and recovery of a variety of waste types, claiming a place within one of the most efficient circular economy supply chains currently operating in Italy.

In terms of mineral oils, the plant is capable of handling over 6,000 tons of waste lubricant per year, with differing characteristics and from various sources, including local industry and artisanal manufacturing, which require scrupulous small-scale collection and support services.

This service enables us to send suitable waste mineral oils to be regenerated and the consequent “rebirth” of over 3,900 tons of regenerated lubricant base oils, leading to significant outcomes in terms of sustainability and environmental savings. This shining Italian example of the circular economy in action was made possible thanks to a supply chain that leads back to CONOU, of which Grassano has been a part since its earliest days.

The mineral oil management operations within Grassano are comprised of: the preliminary assessment of the waste; the process for classification according to type; waste selection, storage and temporary holding areas for incoming waste (with holding tanks for waste oils, waste emulsions and oil-based liquids); a decanting and filtering area; a system for the centrifugation of oil-based emulsions; a pallet recovery station; and a system for washing drums and intermediate bulk containers.

Upon arrival, emulsions are classified based on the percentage of oil they contain, so that they may subsequently undergo different physico-chemical treatments.

Grassano also has a process line specifically for the treatment of automotive filters, where their primary components are separated out, allowing for the recovery of the ferrous and non-ferrous metal fractions, the lubricating oil and the paper. The treatment line includes collection and holding tanks for preliminary and temporary storage, crushing equipment for volumetric reduction, a separator, electromagnets and an induction separator for the recovery of non-ferrous metals. This treatment process is compliant with Council Regulation (EU) 333/2011 and allows Grassano to recover over 1,000 tons per year of ferrous and non-ferrous metals as end-of-waste products.

Management and Control Systems

The hubs, operated by Grassano in Predosa and by Eco.Impresa in Ostuni, where hazardous wastes are treated and mixed, implement their processes with a constant commitment to meeting the most up-to-date safety and service management standards.

The entire sequence of operations is overseen by monitoring and control systems that perform on dual levels, technological and organisational, to ensure top performance and constant improvement in health, safety and the environmental protections.

They are equipped with high-definition video-surveillance systems that transmit images and remote communications in real time, so that the technical departments are always fully aware of what operational procedures are being implemented and can intervene immediately to assist with, additional instructions and specification, where necessary.

From the moment it arrives at the hub, we assume responsibility for the waste—which has been classified according to type in advance, following a meticulous preliminary analysis and review process—implementing the highest acceptance and management standards. These cover every aspect of procedures, from document checks, to sampling at dedicated stations outfitted ad hoc with systems and equipment, to analyses conducted by the internal laboratory, performed on both incoming and outgoing waste.

The control rooms are equipped to constantly test and manage the highly advanced fire protection systems specifically designed for those areas where the potentially most critical operations are carried out. These include, for example:

Automatic detection systems

Automatic detection systems equipped with smoke barriers, video-image smoke and flame detectors, thermal imaging cameras, and thermo-velocimetric heat detectors. These make it possible to monitor, as they evolve, those situations that are liable to give to rise to problems during the course of ordinary operations, so as to be prepared to deal with any issues long before they arise.

Portable monitoring and control devices

Portable monitoring and control devices, such as tablets and smartphones, with dedicated apps, offer the same exact monitoring capabilities provided by the control room technology, so that supervisors can stay perfectly informed even when they are not physically present at the hub.

Water/foam extinguisher systems

Water/foam extinguisher systems ensure that any incipient fires can be promptly extinguished. The systems in the different operational areas can be activated manually as well as by alert triggered directly from the control rooms, so as to minimise response times. They are also engineered to activate automatically when a hazardous situation is potentially developing, thus protecting the hubs during nighttime and weekend/holiday hours as well. In addition, they are equipped with systems that alert fire protection officers by means of an automatic phone dialler with dual network coverage to guard against any loss of signal.

The heavy motor-vehicle and mechanised equipment traffic at operating hubs can pose a significant hazard, which is why we have long instituted an innovative impact, collision and accident prevention system based on a technology that detects pedestrians from a distance. Their presence is detected long before they enter any vehicle’s range of movement, causing the vehicle first to slow down and then stop completely for the entire time the pedestrian remains in its vicinity.


The Grassano and Eco.Impresa operational hubs are home to highly-equipped laboratories. These work every day performing analyses to verify operational processes and to characterise wastes and classify them according to type, in addition to research and development activities.

The laboratories establish the critical parameters for determining whether to send waste oils for regeneration, wastewater for purification, and solid waste for disposal, recovery or thermal destruction. They make it possible to test incoming materials, outgoing materials, and materials currently being internally processed, in order to ensure that they are checked at every step along the way.