Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    New Technology for Oil Spill Cleanup Developed by UT Researchers

    Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering have developed a groundbreaking new technology for cleaning up oil spills. This innovative solution is reported to be 10 times more efficient than traditional oil spill cleanup methods.

    The Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in 2010, which was the largest oil spill in U.S. history, still hasn’t been fully cleaned up even after 13 years. However, the new technology developed by the UT researchers aims to change that.

    The technology involves using a soft-polymer gel and a dual-layer roller design. The gel-coated mesh is hydrophobic and oleophilic at the bottom, while the top layer utilizes induction heating to dilute the oil and reduce its viscosity. The oil is then held between the two layers, resulting in over 99% oil-water separation efficiency.

    Traditionally, skimmers have been used to clean oil spills, but this technology has not been updated for decades and is slow and ineffective at separating oil from water. In contrast, the new technology allows for immediate use of the recovered oil and can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the spill.

    The potential retrieval rate of this technology is impressive, with the capability to retrieve up to 1,400 kilograms of oil per square meter per hour. This recovered oil can be further refined or utilized in various industries.

    Overall, this new technology for oil spill cleanup represents a significant advancement in the field. The improved efficiency and effectiveness of the process could greatly reduce the environmental impact of oil spills in the future.

    – Skimmers: Devices used to recover oil from the surface of water by skimming or sorbing the oil.
    – Polymeric Gel: A gel made from polymers, which are long chains of molecules.

    – University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering