The Future of Coolant

Other Coolant Base Fluids

Currently the majority of engine coolants in the global market place are ethylene glycol based. However other coolant base fluids exist such as propylene glycol and water.  There is a small percentage of propylene glycol based coolant on the market. Propylene glycol is less toxic than ethylene glycol and has perceived environmental benefits; however, these are off-set by higher cost. Even with the environmental benefits of propylene glycol it still comes from a non renewable resource.  Recent developments have provided other sources of propylene glycol where it is made from renewable materials such as the biodiesel process and corn.  Recochem uses these renewable products to provide a more environmentally friendly option to our customers to meet current and future needs.

Recycled ethylene glycol (through processes like distillation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, etc.) is considered a more environmentally acceptable source of ethylene glycol and as such there is a slowly growing portion of the engine coolant market place where recycled ethylene glycol is used to make engine coolant.  The preferred source for the used ethylene glycol that is recycled into engine coolant is post consumer engine coolant.  Recochem produces its own redistilled ethylene glycol at one of our facilities in Quebec, Canada.  This redistilled ethylene glycol is produced to meet ASTM E1177. Read more on Re-refined Ethylene Glycol based Coolant

An engine coolant based on a combination of de-ionized water and corrosion inhibitors (based on IAT, HOAT or OAT) is also used in certain parts of the world.  Typically this type of coolant is used where freeze point is not required and there is significant sensitivity to the cost of glycol.  When used in a properly maintained coolant system, corrosion inhibited water has distinct advantages in viscosity, heat transfer and cost. 

Very recently, interest has risen in glycerin and 1,3 propanediol (PDO) as coolant base fluids. Glycerin can be a by-product from the production of biodiesel, thus an increase in supply is expected. The cost of purified Glycerin made from BioDiesel may or may not be competitive to that for ethylene glycol.  In addition, Glycerin is much more viscous than ethylene glycol thus handling issues may, at least in part limit its use to blends with ethylene glycol or availability as a pre-diluted product. PDO is an isomer of propylene glycol and similar in cost. Since it can be made from natural products it may have some environmental attraction. In engine coolant formulations, it has been suggested that PDO demonstrates improved heat stability, less corrosion especially to lead solder, and lower toxicity than ethylene glycol coolants, all important considerations for today’s highly engineered autos and trucks.

Recochem is constantly engaged in engine coolant product development and optimizing our products to best meet the current and future needs of our global customer base in the ever changing world of engine technology.