22-Mar-2021 | Market Research Store

Recently, a team of researchers designed anecological and cost-effectivemethod to recover oil from extremely cold industrial wastewater and oil spills.The team from Imperial College London and the University of Toronto developed a sponge designed to eliminate hard-to-recover oil from Artic waters. The researchers fabricated the sponge depending on the previously developed sponge technology with the goal of removing oil from the ultra-cold water. The latest economic and ecological method of oil recovery is projected to benefit the environment and the industries. The researchers have developed specially coated sponges to recover oil droplets from 5 degrees Celsius water as it becomes viscous in cold temperatures, thereby making it harder to collect.

The latest study has shown the Arctic waters to contain 1 trillion liters of oil sand tailings due to the continuous oil extraction, and Arctic & marine oil spills. The conventional methods are not only energy intensive but also ineffective when it comes of collecting micrometer-sized oil droplets. The oils are known to cause damage such as reheating of oil that may either cause it to evaporate or dissolve. The idea of using the properties of cold-temperature oil to develop a low-energy and cost-efficient solution to help protect our natural resources is a sustainable solution all the industries should uptake.

The researchers at Imperial developed a special coating for commercially available sponges based on the behavior of oil droplets in cold water. The researchers designed a paraffin-like sponge coating using same chemical structure as that of oil to create a mutual attraction between both the surfaces. A non-toxic solvent is found to help rinse the sponge by removing the sticky oil droplets from it and helps reuse both. The sponge works on wax-wetting process in which heptol solvent is used to displace the oil droplets. The researchers used nanocoating to make it functional and ready-to-use. The engineered sponge can remove 99% contaminants from water ranging between 5 and 40 degrees Celsius within 2.5 Hours. The oil recovery using sponge shows high success rate. The latest approach that is low-cost methods for water clean-upfor global remediation is likely to commercialize in the coming years.