Here Are Latest Technologies Being Used For Oil Spill Clean-Ups
Oil spills damage the ecosystem to a great extent.
Right from the aquatic animals to the local wildlife, everyone suffers the consequences. Fortunately, there are several modalities that help in minimizing the damage as much as possible.
Liquid filtration products such as boom covers, filtration fabrics, filter socks, hula bugs, centipedes, etc., efficiently clean oil from the surface of the water. Lately, many new technologies have come into existence that may limit the impact of oil spills in the future. Let us introduce you to these latest innovations.
This innovation is developed by the University of Michigan. According to the researchers, this oil clean-up technology can clean the oil spills with the help of gravity instead of chemicals. The smart filter strains the oil from water due to the nanomaterial coating that attracts water but repels oil.
It is a tested method. The team of researchers dipped the postage stamps and polyester scraps in a solution and cured them with UV lights. They, then, tested the material in various water and oil mixtures. The material proved 99.9% effective in separating oil and water.
This technology mixes ferrous nanoparticles, which are water repellent, in the oil and uses a magnet to pull oil out of the water. Researchers believe that this innovation can prevent the environment from contamination with the help of nanoparticles. Later on, the nanoparticles can be eliminated from the oil and used again.
It is a natural solution for the oil spill problems. According to the researchers, a milkweed plant can be used to clean even large-scale oil spills.
The fibers of the seed pods of the milkweed plant are hydrophobic in nature and hollow in shape. These fibers effectively absorb oil. They can hold up four times more oil than any other material used for oil clean-ups.
Oil clean-up kits made of milkweed fibers are already under production. A kit can take up to 53 gallons of oil. The Canada parks department has already been using the kit to clean small oil spills.
A Super Absorbent Polymer Material
The super absorbent polymer material is a potent solution for large oil spill accidents. It can absorb forty times its weight in oil.
The material is known as Petrogel. It turns the oil into a soft oil-containing gel. According to scientists, a pound of this super absorbent polymer material can easily recover about five gallons of crude oil.
After forming the gel, the material can be transported to a place where it can be converted into a liquid and then refined like crude oil.
Oil Trapping Mesh
It is the latest innovation that guarantees better oil spill clean-up than most traditional clean-up methods. The method uses an oil-trapping mesh developed at the Ohio State University. It is a stainless-steel mesh that does not allow the oil to pass through it. The design of this mesh derives its inspiration from a lotus leaf. The mesh is designed in a way that it repels oil but does not stop the water.
Scientists had carried out several tests to check the efficacy of this method and the results were favorable. When water contaminated with oil was poured over the mesh, water flowed but oil remained on the surface of the mesh.
Researchers are optimistic that large nets made with this stainless-steel mesh can efficiently filter crude oil from water. The oil can be reused.
The bottom line
The world has suffered many oil spills. However, today with these latest innovations, we can hope that no oil spill in the future would be able to hamper the ecosystem the way it used to in the past.