A New Reusable Sponge to com­bat ocean oil spill

Chemical Industry Digest - - Renewables -

Oleo Sponge, a newly cre­ated ab­sorbent for clean­ing up oil spills, en­sures the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused by Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon is never re­peated.

The tech­nol­ogy, de­signed by sci­en­tists at Ar­gonne Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory, is based on low-cost ma­te­ri­als and pro­cess­ing and can cap­ture 90 times its own weight in oil from both above and be­low the wa­ter’s sur­face, and is also reusable.

“What’s spe­cial about our tech­nol­ogy is that we can ex­tract the oil, ei­ther from the sur­face or from the wa­ter col­umn, with­out cre­at­ing any waste,” ex­plained Seth B. Dar­ling, the direc­tor of the In­sti­tute for Molec­u­lar Engi­neer­ing at Ar­gonne Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory and the project lead on Oleo Sponge, in an in­ter­view with R&D Magazine.

It soaks up the oil, and then the oil can be re­cov­ered, which is also added value be­cause that can be used and you can also re­use the sponge. This en­ables the in­dus­try to ad­dress a much larger spill in­ci­dent with a small amount of the ab­sorbent.

Pi­lot-scale tests of the Oleo Sponge were per­formed and it showed im­proved ab­sorp­tion ca­pac­ity, se­lec­tiv­ity, ab­sorp­tion rate and reusabil­ity.

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