New sorption technique for cleaning up oil spills proves successful in Egyptian trial

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In the present work, an attempt was made to provide an efficient, easily deployable method of cleaning up oil spills and recovering of the oil. Carbonized pith bagasse, a relatively abundant and inexpensive material is currently being investigated as an adsorbent to remove contaminants “oil” from water. Fibers extracted from bagasse and carbonized at 300 °C were found to have a high performance for sorption and recovery of light, heavy oils and even the viscous ones. The physical properties of pith bagasse were investigated using scanning electronic microscope to show the inner and the outer surface and the cross section area of the pith bagasse and thermo gravimetric analyzer to investigate the degradation profile of the pith bagasse. The carbonized pith bagasse was packed into a polypropylene bag and its sorption behavior was studied. A comparison was made between the prepared pad and the commercial sorbents show that the pad containing carbonized pith bagasse has higher sorption capacity in comparison to the commercial sorbents. The pad exhibited high oil retention ability and a high selectivity for the oils over the water. The pad showed a possibility of reuse for eight times. The sorption capacity of the pads containing carbonized pith bagasse was found to increase with increasing the time of sorption till it reaches the maximum value at the time of sorption equal to 60 min.

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