Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Team develops non-toxic oil recovery agent

Date:
July 15, 2010
Source:
City College of New York
Summary:
A team of chemists has developed a non-toxic, recyclable agent that can solidify oil on salt water so that it can be scooped up like the fat that forms on the top of a pot of chilled chicken soup. The agent could potentially be used to recover oil lost in the British Petroleum (BP) spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Still image from a video showing how diesel fuel is transformed to a gel enabling it to be scooped out of the water.
Credit: Image courtesy of City College of New York

A team of chemists led by Dr. George John, Associate Professor at The City College of New York (CCNY), has developed a non-toxic, recyclable agent that can solidify oil on salt water so that it can be scooped up like the fat that forms on the top of a pot of chilled chicken soup. The agent could potentially be used to recover oil lost in the British Petroleum (BP) spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Professor John said.

In the laboratory, Professor John and colleagues added a sugar compound mixed in alcohol to diesel oil floating on top of a saline solution. "Within five minutes, the oil had gelled into a substance thick enough to be scooped up," he said. Then the team separated 80 percent of the oil from the gel using a vacuum distillation process.

The gelling agent developed by his team is environmentally benign. It uses a sugar-based molecule that can be obtained from renewable sources and is biodegradable. In addition, only a relatively small amount of the agent -- five percent of the volume of the oil being recovered -- is required for the process, which handles a range of oil from crude to vegetable oil, to work.

The BP oil spill, which began April 24, has been pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 40,000 barrels per day. Current clean-up methods, which have been in use for more than 40 years, include burning, skimming oil and using chemical dispersants. The latter can be toxic to marine life and may have unknown long-term cumulative effects on the environment, Professor John pointed out.

Besides Professor John, the team included: Swapnil R. Jadhav, a graduate student in Professor John's laboratory; Dr. Praveen Kumar Vemula, a former post-doc in Professor John's lab now at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology; Dr. Srinivasa R. Raghavan, Associate Professor and Patrick & Marguerite Sun Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Maryland, and Rakesh Kumar, a graduate student in Professor Raghavan's laboratory.

The team's findings will be reported July 15 in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by City College of New York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

City College of New York. "Team develops non-toxic oil recovery agent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714151749.htm>.
City College of New York. (2010, July 15). Team develops non-toxic oil recovery agent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714151749.htm
City College of New York. "Team develops non-toxic oil recovery agent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714151749.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins