Through the eyes of the Resourcers

Interview of Tania Bélanger & Valérie Messier - Canada

A second life for used oil

Transforming oil destined to be burned or thrown away is the mission of the Used Oil Regeneration Facility in Québec. Tania Bélanger (director of performance and optimisation) and Valérie Messier (quality assurance director) joined forces to develop ways to optimize both the quality of the used oil collected and the reprocessed end product. 

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (md) thumb
Valérie Messier
Quality Assurance Director - Industry
2 years at Veolia - Canada
Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.  (Steve Jobs)
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (md) thumb
Tania Bélanger
Director of Performance and Optimisation - Industry
14 years at Veolia - Canada
Coming together is a beginning. Staying together is progress. Working together is success. (Henry Ford) 

What was the motivation for this project?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier 
In an initial phase, our objective was to standardize the formulas and production process of our end products. To do this, we implemented operational tools that make the quality of the regenerated oil more stable. Then we turned to the quality of the used oil arriving at the facility, which is mainly used engine oil from automobiles.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
We wanted to improve our end products and optimize the subsidies we receive from the waste oil management stewardship organization, SOGHU (Société de gestion des huiles usagées). This required finding a way to standardize the quality of the raw material arriving at the facility.

What problem does it solve?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
We had observed variations ranging from 2 to 10% in the concentration of water in the used oil, which can disrupt the regeneration systems. So we needed to find a way to buffer the peak water concentrations and make the oil more uniform.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
As our subsidies decreased when the water in the used oil we collected exceeded 5%, we needed to change our acceptance process. We came up with a solution to mix used oil with higher water content with oil with lower water content.

How did you work together?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
The initiative came from Tania, but we worked closely together to develop the solution. The teams were also very involved: their experience allowed us to work out in detail how to achieve the desired outcome.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
For me it was essential to get everyone’s input – those involved in regeneration as well as in collection – and to work with everyone impacted to make sure we made the right decisions.

What did you each bring to the project?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
Tania’s approach was very participative. She never tried to impose anything: rather, she came to us to find solutions collectively.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
Valérie’s technical expertise was invaluable. But beyond that, she proved to be very open-minded and a strong team leader.

What gave you the most satisfaction?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
I was surprised and pleased when Tania invited me to present the project with her in a directors’ meeting. It was important to her to share our achievement, and I really appreciated that.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
The development of the project was very smooth and quick, as we had the right people around the table. This team effort was enriching – one success was bringing together two very different sectors!

What are the positive impacts?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
While the steps to standardize the collected oil haven’t been implemented yet, we’ve now done the work of defining them. So we are ready to change our procedures as soon as necessary.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
Our plant is relatively new, but the optimization steps we’re taking demonstrate our goal of continuous improvement in quality and performance. This is the key for staying competitive.

What are the next steps?

#WAR -- Valerie Messier (sm) thumb
Valérie Messier
There is also a certain percentage of antifreeze in the used oil we receive. We are working on a method to measure this and better understand its impact on the regeneration process.
#WAR -- Tania Belanger (sm) thumb
Tania Bélanger
We have lots of projects planned for the coming years: great opportunities to combine the strengths of the Group!

Be inspired by our Resourcers' stories

 

Our job offers

are now available on...

We are recruiting various profiles in different fields:
IT engineers, frontline positions…