# Used antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol Base) processing. Anyone know much about it?

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#### tcmtech

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New development in my used oils collecting work.

Now I am finding moderate volumes of old/dirty antifreeze I can have for the taking. As is maybe 100 - 200+ gallons to add to my now 250+ I do have and likely more to come if word gets out, which it probably will.

So given that development I have been pondering on using the simple distillation/fractionation process to process it into 95%+ clean Ethylene Glycol base stocks which have some local market possibilities given some people are starting to not like the pre conditioned antifreeze solutions they are getting due to unwanted/unknown/questionable quality/wrong types of additives being in them.

At 95%+ clean ethylene glycol base stock they can make their own custom mixes.

http://www.finishthompson.com/pumps...ler-recovery-of-waste-engine-coolants-report/

Any of you chemistry guys know much about this? Is it as simple as it sounds?

#### large_ghostman

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That makes it sound easy,patents and papers suggest it isnt, if your sure you know what is in it i would give it a miss. Some idiots use it in vap mixes. Mostly its done with membranes to stop it getting into water courses, normally thrown away after or used as a fuel mix...

This is a paper on distilling, looking at the theoretical plate number i would think even low pressure distilling isnt going to give a clean product. The other issue being your well into dry ice and acetone cooled baths as water traps for your vac pump.

Then the salt retention bothers me, all in all i would pass on it but your call.
File wont attach!! says its too big! (can we get that upped?) but the paper abstract is here, i got the paper from the publisher but its the same one. The packed column is huge and multi stage heated! https://espace.curtin.edu.au/handle/20.500.11937/53555

You have another option using IPA, but seriously you would need a decent price to make it worth it, or maybe DCM recovery then distill..... see what i mean? cost V recovery on small scale isnt worth it.

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#### tcmtech

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Okay. I took you off ignore for this so play nice or it goes back on permanently.

We may be on two different pages here. I'm not after high grade purity chem lab grade ethylene glycol but rather just not heavily contaminated mystery mix engine coolant grade product that can be custom mixed with only the wanted additives for specific engine and hydronic heating system application work.

I know a number of people with newer off warranty equipment that have Tier 3 engines that are having severe problems with engine damage due to supposedly bad coolant, which as they claim they are being told is from having the wrong types and unknown mixes of coolant in them (not likely but) which seem like BS excuses since the older non emissions versions engines (same base engine blocks and components, just older builds) they have have the exact same coolants in and have had it for years and have never had the problems the new ones are having.

What they want to do is experiment with DIY custom blending their own with only the exact ratios of specific additives the OEM specs call for or for what the basic chem tests for whatever engine they are playing says it needs without needing to spend $20 a gallon for the stuff. But mostly I just need it for my and others private boiler systems use where a relatively clean base stock is needed that only needs the minimal anti corrosion and scaling inhibitors in it and nothing else like the engine application stuff has which can supposedly cause some minor degradation issues with the home heating system pumps and whatnot. As for the vape heads, they can go make their own poison themselves. Here's what I have seen so far on the DIY distillation/fractionation process of common engine antifreeze. Basically that, but scaled up to do 55 gallon barrels worth batches in a day or less since I have high capacity oil fired burners and 1000's of gallons of used oil to burn for heating and tons of steel and components to build the apparatus out of. #### large_ghostman ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member What i posted still stands, the difference in engines is not the actual engine....Gaskets and seals are the difference normally. Older engines with cork gaskets and red type seals can take the gunk in the coolant, newer neoprene and synthetic gaskets cant take the chemicals. First job find out whats in it. You will need to distill under vac, this is the first hurdle. ALL EG will have water in so you need a cold trap or your pump wont last long. Water aspirator venturi pumps wont pull a deep enough Vacuum, your going to need a twin vane two stage pump or you might get away with a all PTFE type pump with twin pistons but they cost some cash, if you can get away with the latter then water traps are not needed. Pressure charts are against you however and twin stage pumps are the goto for this. For a few tests you got some options so the following is small scale testing to see whats in it, try and put 50 ltr through this and you WILL damage your pump very very fast or spend more money on compressor oil that the EG money you make. Vac distill with water trap or use a veg oil trap with a high palmate acid content, take a note what fractions come over at what temps and keep a note of the pressure they come over at. Test each for acid/alkali. would help if you knew the brand of starting coolant but thats unlikely, so look at msds for various coolants, your looking for close boiling point fractions. All the papers on recovery use 1.5 meter packed columns and 24hr runs for 500ml of coolant, that gives a 95% clean product so hardly lab grade! Thats why i gave you the warning, if the end product had been 98% + then go for it, but columns like that with heating coils and theoretical plates of 32 etc, are serious kit. If i had such a column i would be producing 99.99% ethanol in 15 mins at STP from grass and water washes. So 95% EG after that kind of distillation is some serious contamination, didnt look to see what they are trying to get out, but it cant be just water as you can do that other ways. Also the patents are mostly using RO type membranes for recovery, and again only reaching mid 90's clean product. So you got serious competition looking at this type of recovery and very few answers that make it commercial. I might get a chance to dig around and see whats in the EG or what is forming to make it so 'dirty', but cant be simple water as you would use high speed continuous centrifuge for this (looks like a candy floss machine), i am surprised no one seems to do this, its really common in the used oil game, so it draws us to two conclusions, the BP of the target contaminate is within 5C of EG and its nasty enough to warrant that kind of effort. Dont make threats and dont get smart if you want help, as i said had the papers of given a pure product i would have said go for it. I mentioned the column size and plate number to give you an idea what your up against. I havnt a clue whats in this stuff but its a common problem looking at the patents, shame your not in UK, i would have run a sample through the GC/MS for you. BTW i have skype contact with Doug from Dougs lab in the video, i will ask him more about what his info is. #### large_ghostman ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member Watched the video, big difference to what your doing, he is using brand new stuff, you said used stuff. Water will come over as he points out, using a$400 50 gallon moonshine still you will use more energy distilling the 50 gallon of used stuff for 5-6 hours than it would cost to buy new.

You need to look at videos with fractional packed columns, or use IPA or DCM to strip out what you want and distill those back off, it uses less energy (especially DCM) as you use lower boiling points. I will still ask Dough why he didnt use reduced pressure, but ts likely because of the volume he wanted. Thats alot of work and cost for 500ml of EG from one gallon coolant?? is it restricted over there or something? Cant work out why he didnt just go buy it pure, interesting additives they put in.... one is for corrosion the other however i have no idea why it would be in except maybe to protect gaskets.

#### large_ghostman

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Ok got to it, hmm seems over there its devil pee. no sure why the fuss however when you do all that fracking but have laws that make out EG in the ground is the bogey man.

Anyway good news then. Fist test get some table salt and gently heat some the used stuff to around 70-80C, add salt until 1-2 table spoons remain. Let it cool and see if you get two layers, if you do shout me and i will give you the cheapo way to do it. no vac needed so far but still looking for the bogeyman. Seems mental to have EG as hazmat stuff considering what you allow in stores over there! EG breaks down biologically, chlorates dont, yet you can dump chlorates but not EG???

If it really is just hazmat rules then your looking to buy this https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/1227564234...1007266&device=c&campaignid=1340018084&crdt=0
or similar but bigger, but first do some tests like the salt test, it will save you vast amounts of energy if you can salt out alot of the water first.

#### tcmtech

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The only ones concerned about ethylene glycol are the half-wit enviro nutters sects, who as usual, are all blind faith heart and no scientifically fact based reality on what they deem dangerous or not.
As for fracking I worked it first hand and it's nothing like what the same clueless tree hugging environuters paint it to be when it's being done in the legal by the code way. Who's doing it illegally and not to code does not set the standard of judgement for everyone else doing their work by the books.

As for the antifreeze, most people here just collect their old antifreeze until they have enough to use it as dust control on their driveways or in some other way or it just get dumped someplace but as the price for new antifreeze goes up while at the he same time more an more concern over the new, and grossly overpriced, actual quality becomes more common more people are wanting to find alternative to doing something useful with both their old dirty supplies and are looking at doing their own experimentation to try and nail down where the real problems with the new engines is coming from.

Which as the pro engine builders seem to be suspecting it has more to do with the new parts (one primary example is cylinder sleeve and seal failure from the coolant side in) being of inferior quality and not the coolants themselves, since new engines rebuilt with old pre emission days OEM stock parts running the exact same coolants under the exact same working and maintenance schedules don't have the high rate of inside out failures like the ones rebuilt with new OEM parts of questionable metallurgical properties do.

For me I just like to collect things that cost a lot new and fixing them so that I can have good stuff for cheap, which means that if I can spend a week or two worth of my spare time and a few hundred in cash to make a rig that can turn countless amounts of anyone's old contaminated antifreeze into something useable, if for no one but myself, I have no problem with that! You know how that works.

#### large_ghostman

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Which as the pro engine builders seem to be suspecting it has more to do with the new parts (one primary example is cylinder sleeve and seal failure from the coolant side in) being of inferior quality and not the coolants themselves, since new engines rebuilt with old pre emission days OEM stock parts running the exact same coolants under the exact same working and maintenance schedules don't have the high rate of inside out failures like the ones rebuilt with new OEM parts of questionable metallurgical properties do.
I already mentioned that, the newer seals degrade while older seal types dont.

Its something you become very aware of if in the lab, EG on long rx's i normally use old school cork stoppers.

Using coolant on drive ways for dust control is stupid. It really isnt something you want finding its way into a water course, but it isnt the devil it seems to be considered. Apparently it takes a tiny amount to mess up a aquifer which is why it got listed as hazard waste. I mentioned fracking because it makes no sense to use those chemicals for fracking and then treat EG as a hazmat clean up. Nothing to do with politics just common sense, the one difference obviously is the toxicity if EG gets inside you, not a funny way to die.

Back to your problem, Its really a material chemist problem based more on the seals material than EG itself. But first things first, before you even consider the viability of recovery you need to see if you can salt out alot of the water, if sodium chloride fails there is a couple of other things you can try to salt it out.

Otherwise its a bit of a dead duck, it takes more energy to clean out the water alone than it costs to get new EG. So try the salt first, if that works then next test is to check if certain other chems are present, if the stuff is loaded with heavy metals then you got a problem. It isnt a question of if you can remove them, because you can. But the problem becomes what would YOU do with gallons of heavy metal toxic waste? I know what you will tell me you would do, but seriously if the stuff you can get has heavy metals in then the figures wont stack up.

First though see if you can separate the water from it with salt. Once its cooled you should see salt crystals drop from the solution as two distinct layers form.

#### tcmtech

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I mentioned fracking because it makes no sense to use those chemicals for fracking and then treat EG as a hazmat clean up.
Which chemicals? Believe me I have literally been up to my armpits in frack fluids and they are not these wild monstrous toxic chemical soups the environmentalists claim they are. Most of your household cleaning and yard and garden care chemicals you use bare handed are far more environmentally damaging and toxic than the ones used in fracking.

Using coolant on drive ways for dust control is stupid. It really isnt something you want finding its way into a water course, but it isn't the devil it seems to be considered. Apparently it takes a tiny amount to mess up a aquifer which is why it got listed as hazard waste.
It's been done here for as long as IC engines have existed. It has a rather short half life associated with it being in the environment and its effective toxicity limits are fairly high which makes its overall impact rather low simply by natural dillutiing and breakdown effects between its source and the primary environmental structures and the times to move from one to the other.

"Ethylene glycol can also enter the environment through the disposal of products that contain it. Air: Ethylene glycol in air will break down in about 10 days. Water and soil: Ethylene glycol in water and in soil will breakdown within several days to a few weeks."

Probably why it only lasts for a few weeks at best as a dust control and outside of large volume spills its not really a big environmental concern.

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp96-c1.pdf

Otherwise it's a bit of a dead duck, it takes more energy to clean out the water alone than it costs to get new EG.
How do you figure? I'm sitting on over 7500 gallons of high BTU fuel (with now 1000+ more to pick up fro free this week) and already have the purpose built burners to put it to use for very little additional effort or cost given the burners take maybe 500 - 600 watts to run while putting out 400,000+ BTU's. Energy input cost to do evaporative distillation is near irrelevant on my end with this.

if the stuff is loaded with heavy metals then you got a problem. It isnt a question of if you can remove them, because you can. But the problem becomes what would YOU do with gallons of heavy metal toxic waste? I know what you will tell me you would do, but seriously if the stuff you can get has heavy metals in then the figures wont stack up.
No way to know they are in there nor where they would have come from to begin with let alone how they would be in volumes of any concern to me given I do scrap work and have loads of every engine or cooling system component they could have leached out of sitting around outside as is.

Lead leached out from old copper/brass lead soldered radiators perhaps (I have a bunch to scrap plus near 1000 #'s of lead on hand now), so that's insignificant in the overall volumes in play compared to what I probably already have in large volume here now.

The thing is I don't limit my actions over - what if's - that don't add up to already existing similar conditions I am already a part of and easily dealing with.

First though see if you can separate the water from it with salt. Once its cooled you should see salt crystals drop from the solution as two distinct layers form.
I don't have much salt to work with so for me the boiling method seems most practical to work with given it has the least cost investment plus gives the likely best recovery of viable end products. Even if it doesn't work out as I hope I can use the still to start processing used oil into clean #2 - #4 heating fuel.

#### large_ghostman

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I told you how much to use, take a small sample of the coolant say around 200ml, warm it up to 70-80C and keep adding salt at that temp until no more dissolves, then let it cool. once cool (<20C) see if you get two layers separate.

You twisted what i said, i said its a waste of energy to do it, just because you have mountains of fuel dosnt make it efficient or worthwhile to do if you can buy it cheaply and know its clean.

The half life is more complicated than that webpage you read makes out, if it wasnt then coolant would last less than a month in a car would it not?

Heavy metals that are dissolved not heavy metals in solid form..... makes a difference to how you get rid of them, pouring toxic **** on the ground like cadmium etc isnt my thing. Your question is starting to make no sense, given you want clean EG then go buy it clean, cleaning it up using loads and loads of fuel is pointless. Besides try salting it out first, you then recover the salt depending what else is in there. EG is really cheap, so i am trying to help you find out if its worth the trouble.

Ok this is a mr deb thread, go ahead and boil it up with a condenser. It wil help decrease your large pile of fuel for you.

#### tcmtech

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You twisted what i said, i said its a waste of energy to do it, just because you have mountains of fuel dosnt make it efficient or worthwhile to do if you can buy it cheaply and know its clean.
I think you missed my point as well. This isn't about just buying something just because I can afford it. Its about recycling something now useless I get for free back into something useful for any price less than buying it new does.

The reality is buying the stuff is $30+ a gallon unless I want it in 55 gallon drums which still cost ~$15 a gallon or more, which by my books says I can do a whole lot of processing to old antifreeze and still be way under that price range.

Same with energy efficiency. For me it's irrelevant since I have a vast and fast increasing surplus of the stuff to work with that I purposely collect just for making heat from.

Heavy metals that are dissolved not heavy metals in solid form..... makes a difference to how you get rid of them, pouring toxic **** on the ground like cadmium etc isnt my thing.
Until they are known to actually exist and in a quantity fare exceeding any already known volumes I or most anyone would presently own and or throw away in the garbage, or that would exceed common naturally occurring ratios of them found everywhere, I am not going to worry about them.

Which BTW, I presently have at least two 5 gallon buckets worth of NiCad batteries and I don't actually know of any engine or cooling systems components that have high levels of cadmium in their design to begin with so I am not sure where it would come from to begin with let alone come in a volume that would even exceed what is found in a single sub C rechargeable battery.

Lead would be the most likely heavy metal I know of that would show up and even if I processed hundreds of gallons of used antifreeze I doubt I would even generate enough to equate to a few 22 bullets of which I release 100's of them into the environment every year.

BTW, the average for naturally occuring lead is ~ 16 PPM and Cadmium is ~ .1 - .5 PPM and those are pretty easy numbers to dilute things down to as well.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2011/402647/

16 and 1 grams per 1000 liters of water then spread out over a large area (watering my nearby hay field can easily use 100x that in a single day) and I am it back to nature at several magnitudes of order under the typical naturally occurring levels accepted to be normal. Problems solved and no excess discernable from naturally occurring levels has been produced either.

Something found in nature is thusly returned to nature at or below its natural levels. Any environmentalist who has a problem with that has a problem with reality and nature itself. (and I got what I wanted at little to no cost to myself!)

#### gophert

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The reality is buying the stuff is $30+ a gallon unless I want it in 55 gallon drums which still cost ~$15 a gallon or more, which by my books says I can do a whole lot of processing to old antifreeze and still be way under that price range.
You are confusing the price of antifreeze with the price of ethylene glycol. Pure ethylene glycol is dirt cheap - hovering about $0.35 to$0.45/pound (or less than $4/gallon). Any higher price or pay is associated with... 1) "convenience costs" (cost of breaking down bulkquantities to small drums or bottles), plus, 2) "order prep costs", the act of taking your order for one gallon, printing shipping papers and putting it on a pallet. 3) "profit" - especially lucrative when selling to customers who view themselves as "antifreeze-o-philes". #### large_ghostman ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member + You are confusing the price of antifreeze with the price of ethylene glycol. Pure ethylene glycol is dirt cheap - hovering about$0.35 to $0.45/pound (or less than$4/gallon). Any higher price or pay is associated with...
1) "convenience costs" (cost of breaking down bulkquantities to small drums or bottles), plus,
2) "order prep costs", the act of taking your order for one gallon, printing shipping papers and putting it on a pallet.
3) "profit" - especially lucrative when selling to customers who view themselves as "antifreeze-o-philes".
The main reason to recycle is to get EG and the contaminated waste water out of the environment. Used coolant can be pretty nasty stuff containing alot of compounds, much in the same way way dirty engine oil is no longer something you want to go leaving about or disposing of improperly.

The video shows new antifreeze being distilled, this is a different ball game to old stuff like you have. Gopher is correct, you might make money if you can find a cheap process. Same way as turning used oils in bio fuel, first you got to find out if you can process it in a cheap manner. Main thing you need to get rid of first is the bulk water. If you just heat the water off you got two problems, first is cost of energy to drive the water off.

Second and actually the more important, if you can salt out alot of the water it will take alot of other contaminants with it. Then you look at what is left behind, trust me waste engine oil and coolants are given away free for a reason. I use waste engine oil in a boiler/furnace, but i have a way to process it first and do it cheap enough its worth it. But the waste sludge is a problem, so sometimes a batch isnt worth picking up if its really bad.

If you want to make anti freeze then buy the EG, but first have a go and see if you can salt most the water out. This is why i would go salt ---IPA----DCM. The salt takes most the water, the IPA takes some more water and alot of heavy metal fractions then the DCM takes the EG and some VOC's. The DCM is then distilled off and recycled to do some more, IPA depending on what you buy it for is also recovered, but ultimately you are going to get some pretty nasty toxic waste to get rid of.

Normally stuff like this i would mix with sawdust/waste paper and pellet it, then burn the pellets in a CHAP system.... But thats all just part of the biofuel stuff i do, its not as straight forward and just distilling off water. Your not going to listen to anyone but yourself, so go ahead create some toxic waste and burn some cash...

#### large_ghostman

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3) "profit" - especially lucrative when selling to customers who view themselves as "antifreeze-o-philes".

We started getting them in the UK, odd bunch but mainly not for cars, ours tend to want it for heating systems in homes. No idea why the craze started except for a while it caused engine issues like bio fuel did, but thats mainly been sorted with newer gasket and seal material

#### tcmtech

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You are confusing the price of antifreeze with the price of ethylene glycol. Pure ethylene glycol is dirt cheap - hovering about $0.35 to$0.45/pound (or less than $4/gallon). Any higher price or pay is associated with... 1) "convenience costs" (cost of breaking down bulkquantities to small drums or bottles), plus, 2) "order prep costs", the act of taking your order for one gallon, printing shipping papers and putting it on a pallet. 3) "profit" - especially lucrative when selling to customers who view themselves as "antifreeze-o-philes". Do you have a link to where someone can buy good quality Ethylene Glycol for$4 a gallon? I have yet to find it anywhere that cheap.

Until proof is made I have no choice but to go with what common market prices say it is.

#### large_ghostman

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ead would be the most likely heavy metal I know of that would show up and even if I processed hundreds of gallons of used antifreeze I doubt I would even generate enough to equate to a few 22 bullets of which I release 100's of them into the environment every year.

https://www.astm.org/DIGITAL_LIBRARY/STP/PAGES/STP25169S.htm lead the only one? really? think combustion and leaching from seals. interesting paper when read in full

#### large_ghostman

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taken from the extract
Silicates can combine with excessive levels of magnesium or calcium, thus losing their ability to protect aluminum; MBT is easily oxidized and results in loss of copper protection; and phosphates can combine with calcium and magnesium to form an insoluble sediment.

A consequence of this chemistry is that the coolant that comes out of an automobile after time and use can be significantly different than what went into it. With the increased emphasis placed on proper waste disposal and recycling of used coolant, it is important to understand what is coming out of the car.

During 1989 and 1990, a statistically valid survey and characterization of used engine coolant was taken from commercial automotive service centers. The purpose of the survey was to characterize the condition of a typical used engine coolant. The samples were evaluated for suspended matter, and analyzed for pH, reserve alkalinity (RA), percent ethylene glycol (EG), diethylene glycol (DEG), propylene glycol (PG); the presence of degradation acids (acetate, glycolate, formate, and ethylenediaminetetraacetate [EDTA]); the level of inhibitors (nitrites, nitrates, TTZ, MET, benzotriazole [BZT], benzoate), oil, chloride, fluoride, sulfate concentrations, and 14 other elements (Al, B, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mo, Na, P, Pb, Si, Sn, Zn) in their soluble and insoluble forms. The samples were also tested following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines to determine if the engine coolant would be considered a hazardous waste.

notice CADMIUM? over EPA limits apparently but probably way under yours

#### tcmtech

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Your not going to listen to anyone but yourself, so go ahead create some toxic waste and burn some cash...
I'm here for opinions on options and if I see no merit in a an opinion then I have no need to follow it if I think what I already have is better. That's how life works when you're the one doing the actual work.

Now if gophorts claim that Ethylene Glycol can be had for ~ $4 a gallon (without major hurdles) that changes my views considerably. #### gophert ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member Normally, (rule of thumb) is that a pallet of drums is about double the price per pound vs bulk quantities (a 44000 lb tank truck). You can get a pallet of drums (4 x 55 gallons) at$7.36/gallon on eBay.
Note the pricing model (very common in the chemical industry ) is that the first drum covers all the one-time order costs and additional drums are dirt cheap. This supplier charges $1395.00 for the first drum and$75 for each additional drum to fill the pallet...

https://www.ebay.com/i/173282163498...7%26rvr_ts%3D1230fd801630aa1373b4c233fffdcbda

http://vi.raptor.ebaydesc.com/ws/eB...tegory=104233&pm=1&ds=0&t=1504754386000&ver=0

#### gophert

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I worked for a major antifreeze manufacturer for a few years. The anticorrosion additives make up about 1% of the product but are more than half of the price of the gallon of antifreeze (99% ethylene glycol makes up the other half of raw material costs).

Advertising, packaging, distribution and markup at the whole-sale and retail level make up the rest.

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