Advantages Of Sea Sponge To Absorb Oil Spills

Could Sea sponge be the answer to curing marine life of oil spills?

Humans have evolved for millions of years, and with the development of technology, they have been able to change the world's shape. Be it building cities, connecting continents or discovering space, mankind has never taken a step back. The wheel of advancements has led to some devastating consequences like oil spills that have adversely affected marine life.

Millions of gallons of oils pollute coastlines affecting fisheries and injuring wildlife. The news of oil spills is relatively frequent, and cleaning up after the spill is complex and even harder to clean up in the Arctic region's cold water.

The crystallisation process at low temperatures makes the crude oil heavier and includes about 2.44 % of the natural paraffin wax oil. This results in forming a more significant and more viscous mess for people trying to clean up.

The technologies till now include heating oil to break molecules, which is inadequate and impractical.

In the words of Vinayak Dravid, "Although many spills are small and may not make the evening news, they are still profoundly invasive to the ecosystem and surrounding community. Our sponge can remediate these spills in a more economical, efficient, and eco-friendly manner than any of the current state-of-the-art solutions."

A team of researchers have come up with different methods to tackle the problem. Trying to keep oil as it is, the sponge has been able to capture and gobble it. This solves the preheating process of tackling the problem.

By studying the molecular structure of sticky oil, scientists were able to engineer Nano coating similar strictures. A study published in Science Advances formulated that sponge was covered with paraffin. It acted like an oil-absorbing machine. In an experiment, it absorbed up to 99% of Texas raw crude oil within 3 hours of the spill even though the temperatures were as low as 5 degrees C. the draining process was done by soaking in a solvent.

The coating was able to withstand up to 10 further uses. Even though experiments have not continued till 10, it is believed it can last till then. While similar kinds of sponges were made in the past, the new formula sticks out as it is effective in lower temperatures.

The majority of oil exploration and production is present in the Arctic. It could be of great use in case of oil spills. The next step would be to improve tests, enhancing the efficiency of the product.