At the Department of Radiochemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry of Moscow State University, a material has been created that will help eliminate oil spills on the surface of water bodies.
This composite allows efficient and selective absorption of a large volume of oil products in a short time. It can replace the used polymer materials, as it is much easier and more environmentally friendly to manufacture. The study was carried out within the framework of the national project “Science and Universities”.
With an increase in oil production in the world, accidents at oil production and transport hubs are becoming more frequent. In Russia, almost 10,000 oil spills occur every year. How informs The Moscow State University website, oil and gasoline spillage into nature threatens with irreversible consequences for the soil, flora and fauna in the spill area. If oil enters a natural reservoir, there is a threat of contamination to other ecosystems. Sometimes a significant layer of oil products on the surface of a reservoir is flammable.
To eliminate emergency spills, 4 types of methods are used: mechanical, thermal, biological and physico-chemical. They involve the use of sorbents and dispersants. The use of dispersants is the most effective, safest and fastest: it stops the spread of oil in the reservoir almost instantly.
To quickly remove oil films from the surface of the water, today porous polymers are used. Such materials are very light and affordable. However, they are characterized by non-selective sorption of organic pollutants. Other modern sorbents – carbon materials – can effectively absorb not only oil, but also heavy metals. But their practical application is limited by the fact that these powders have to be collected after the sorption process.
Currently, scientists are paying attention to the development of a composite using the first and second classes of existing materials. Chemists at Moscow State University have created a composite based on materials of the first and second types. He is very selective. Scientists have succeeded in developing a material whose sorption selectivity exceeds the market average. As the co-author of the work, Tamuna Bakhiya, a graduate student of the Faculty of Chemistry at Moscow State University, explained, “the method by which the material for absorbing oil could be synthesized on an industrial scale is economical, environmentally friendly and can be put on a conveyor.”
The work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia.