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Title: Biodegradable hydraulic fluids : reducing oil-related pollution in the construction industry
Author: Jackson, Frank
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2006
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Water is a precious commodity that must be protected. Data coilected since the early 1990s show petroleum (oil) related products are consistently involved in the most recorded water pollution incidents. In recent years the construction industry has frequently been identified as a source of pollution of the aquatic environment. The industry is a major user of hydraulic oil and that type of oil is responsible for a significant percentage of pollution incidents annually. Many of the compounds and metallic substances used as performance additives in traditional mineral-based hydraulic oil are classified as toxic, non-biodegradable and persistent with the ability to accumulate in the environment over time. As little as one litre of oil can taint one million litres of drinking water, 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm) of oil in water can render sewage treatment plants inoperative and depending on the nature of the watercourses even a small amount of oil can decimate habitats, flora and fauna over large areas. There is no alternative to the use of oil in the hydraulic systems of mobile plant such as tracked excavators. A review of the evidence shows that there is a technologicaiiy advanced oil that can substitute for a toxic, non-biodegradable type of oil. Known as an environmentally considerate lubricant or ECL, it is synthesised from saturated esters of mineral oil or a mixture of mineral and vegetable-based base oils. It is non-toxic, biodegradable according to OECD standards and is approved for use in the hydraulic systems of modern mobile plant by the original equipment manufacturers. The oil causes no lasting damage to the aquatic environment and complies fully with the principles of sustainable development. Synthetic biodegradable oil is more expensive than traditional mineral-based oil. Research shows that due to a lack of product knowledge, awareness and education take-up in the construction industry is low and there is no legislation enacted to enforce its use. This thesis investigates and reports on a policy of a public sector client to manage change for environmental improvements into the supply chain after June 2005. It looks at the relationships between an innovative change-policy and the use of an ECL in construction activities and expresses the results in a context relevant to business. It concludes that the financial, environmental, and socio-economic advantages to business and commerce of an ECL are likely to outweigh the disadvantages including that of cost. This thesis shows that theory of change and supply chain management is possibie and is successfully transferable between clients. It considers if an ECL may produce environmental and socio-economic benefits if used in hydraulically operated plant and equipment across other sectors of the UK economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available