Refining and Recovery Services Information

Image Credit: Saint-Gobain Oil & Gas

Refining and recovery services include the purification and treatment of oils, fuels, metals and other materials. Refining and recovery encompasses a broad range or processing services such as recovering precious metals from physical vapor deposition (PVD) chambers, reconditioning fuels in storage tanks, cracking crude oils and purifying metals extracted from mineral ores.

Selecting a refining and recovery service company requires engineers to consider the types of services provided and the types of materials serviced.

Types of Services

Process development services include a number of individual types of services. The GlobalSpec SpecSearch Database provides users with option of selecting services based on type of service. These include:

  • Analytical testing - Companies provide inspection services and/or analytical testing of processed materials, chemicals, or other products.
  • Collection and haulage - Supplier has the capability to collect, haul, or ship raw materials of waste between the customers' facility and the supplier processing center(s).
  • Process optimization - Companies provide process development or optimization services.
  • Research and development - Companies provide research and development for new processes, process technologies, lower cost processes, or alternate processing steps.
  • Technology and licensing - Companies develop, license, or sell specialized process technologies.
  • Toll processing - Companies provide services on a contractual, toll, or fee basis.
  • Training and consulting - Companies provide training or consulting services for fluid processing systems.
  • Warehousing and distribution - Companies provide warehousing, storage, distribution, sourcing, and other logistics services.

Material Form and Type

The refining process that companies select is typically a function of the material to refine and the industry or application.


Refining and recovery services can be scaled according to the amount of material they can handle. For most solids and some liquids, capacity is measured on a mass basis. For most gases and many liquids, capacity is measured on a volume basis.

Companies with laboratory or benchtop-scale capacities can process material quantities that do not exceed a few pounds or a few gallons. Pilot scale facilities perform small-scale production processes that are larger than laboratory scale and used to develop a subsequent full-scale process. Typically, pilot-scale quantities range from several drums to hundreds of pounds or gallons; however, quantities vary with the density and type of processed material. Pilot scale refining and recovery services are better than laboratory scale facilities at simulating production processes and can be used for troubleshooting, improving and optimizing processes. Typically, production lots are in the range of thousands of gallons or pounds.


Refining and recovery services are utilized most prevalently in metals manufacturing, the petroleum industry, and the production of various types of fuels. Refining processes are also commonly used in food and beverage processing applications.


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