A material made from waste cooking oil and sulphur that can soak up oil spills and other pollution will be commercialized, following a deal between its south Australian inventors and a Singaporean company.
Associate Professor Justin Chalker, right, with Flinders University researcher Nicholas Lundquist testing groundwater quality.
The collaboration between Flinders University and Clean Earth Technologies will result in a
manufacturing facility in South Australia to produce commercial quantities of the absorbent
CET executives visited the South Australian capital Adelaide today to formalise the agreement, which assigns a suite of patents to the Singapore-based company ahead of production for global markets.
The patents cover numerous areas, including a class of novel polymers used for environmental
remediation, and new mercury- and cyanide-free method of precious metal extraction and recovery.
The sponge-like polymer was developed by an international team headed by Flinders University
Associate Professor Justin Chalker and can be made of waste cooking oil from fast food outlets and sulphur – a by-product of the petroleum industry.
The product is hydrophobic – meaning that it separates from water and binds well to oil. The polymer absorbs oil much like a sponge, forming a gel that can be scooped out of the water.
Porous polymer cubes can soak up 2-3 times their weight in oil.
It is capable of absorbing 2-3 times its mass in oil or diesel and is reusable. The recovered oil can
be squeezed from the polymer like water from a sponge and the oil can also be reused.
When still in its early stage of development, Assoc Professor Chalker described the product as
a new class of oil sorbent that is low-cost, scalable and enables the efficient removal and recovery
of oil from water.
“Just making a product from waste, regardless of what the end use, is a viable thing to think about.
In this case, we’re converting waste into something that can help clean up the environment,” he said.
“We hope that our material will play a role in remediation and that’s the hallmark of impact.”
The agreement also includes a research collaboration that will provide ongoing funding for the Chalker Research Lab
This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about
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Jim Plouffe, Publishing Editor
– Feb. 18, 2020 @ 16:25 GMT |