Hydrodec Re-refines Transformer Oils and Removes PCB Contaminants
Hydrodec is a London, UK based firm that recovers oil from electrical transformers. The firm trades on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker HYR. The company was born in 2001 in Australia, launched on the LSE in 2004, and opened its first plant in Australia in 2006. A second plant opened in the US in 2008, and the firm recently signed a joint-venture agreement with a Japanese firm to a construct a processing facility in Japan.
Electrical transformers throughout the world require special oil, known as transformer oil, for insulation and cooling. Transformer oils are highly and engineered, and are an essential part of the functioning of the transformer. However, they are subject to breakdown from thermal stress, and therefore require periodic replacement. Some oils can be sold into a secondary market and used for a variety of purposes as lower grade oils. In many cases, however, transformer oils are contaminated with PCBs and therefore cannot be reused.
Hydrodec buys used transformer oils on a spot market. It then uses its own patented process to re-refine transformer oils. The re-refined oils are then sold back into the higher value market for transformer oils, instead of into lower value markets. The process allows indefinite re-refining of transformer oils, reducing the demand for new oil production for transformers. The firm also has a patented process that removes PCBs from transformer oils, eliminating the necessity to dispose the contaminated oil. A critical benefit of Hydrodec’s refining process is that it produces no hazardous by-products. Even PCBs are entirely broken down and rendered harmless.
Both the Australian and US facilities serve both local and export markets, and grew total volumes by nearly 100 percent from 2009 to 2010. The firm only recently received regulatory approval in the US for its PCB process. It expects that approval will create higher volumes in the near future.
Since June, the price has, despite the crash in the Euro, risen by 25%