Oil and oil products spill often and in various places. These are plots in oil production areas and pipeline breaking locations and places of tanker wracks or crashes of consists, which carry oil products. At best, oil spillage falls on hard soil: it can be collected and somehow refined or, at the worst, buried. The case is much worse if the spillage takes place on water.
The oil film spreads out quickly to large distances, and it is very uneasy to collect. A thick film is removed by sea bulldozers by “scraping it off” water surface. As for a thin film, which produces iridescent spots, it is practically impossible to eliminate. By the way, its emergence does not require any disastrous events at all: a film may drift behind an ordinary motor-launch if its engine does not run well. A film several microns thick may seem to produce little impact. For water inhabitants, it emergence can mean certain death: it reduces oxygen dissolving in water drastically.
Therefore, the problem of fighting oil film is more than urgent. There is only one remedy for it: sorbent that is capable of taking in oil products. It is also desirable that the sorbent itself did not contaminate the environment and was able to turn carbohydrates into something quite harmless. Researchers of three institutes – Snezhinsk All-Russian Scientific Research Institite of Technical Physics (VNIITF), Novosibirsk State Research Center “Vector” and the Syktyvkar Institute of Biology (Komi Research Center, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences) with financial support from the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) – managed to combine all three components of an ideal sorbent. Significant assistance was also provided by the US colleagues. Furthermore, the partner of the project – the Kirov Center for Ecological Initiatives “Press-Torf (Peat)” – even arranged production of sorbent trial lots.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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