New reusable sponge not only soaks from oil-spills but also recovers oil safely

Oil Soaking Sponge

The National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility in Leonardo, New Jersey, has recently tested a new type of sorbent that can soak upto 90 times its own weight from oil spills. What is remarkable about this sponge is that the oil can be recovered and the sponge can be reused. The tests show that capacity of the sponge is not affected by reuse. The findings of the test are still unpublished but there is enough information available to preview the new arrival to save oceans from smaller oil-spills.

Seth Darling and his colleagues at Aronne National Laboratory in Illinois are behind the creation of new material that consist of a simple foam made of polyurethane or polyimide plastics and coated with silane molecules. These molecules have sweet spots to capture oil. Right amount of silane ensure safe recovery of oil and reuse of sponge.

As compared to current sorbents, which can only be used once and doesn’t allow recovery of oil, the new material is more sustainable and leaves negligible waste.

However, the researchers are not sure about effectiveness of new sponge in large-scale oil-spills. But, near coastal areas or at harbors, the new material could revolutionize the way small-oil spills are dealt with.

Via: New Scientists

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