Deal to commercialise oil spill technology


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

innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources

are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

Jim Plouffe, Publishing Editor

– Feb. 18, 2020 @ 16:25 GMT |


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