Sustainable Polysulfides for Oil Spill Remediation: Repurposing Industrial Waste for Environmental Benefit

Max J.H. Worthington, Cameron J. Shearer, Louisa J. Esdaile, Jonathan A. Campbell, Christopher T. Gibson, Stephanie K. Legg, Yanting Yin, Nicholas A. Lundquist, Jason R. Gascooke, Inês S. Albuquerque, Joseph G. Shapter, Gunther G. Andersson, David A. Lewis, Gonçalo J.L. Bernardes, Justin M. Chalker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Crude oil and hydrocarbon fuel spills are a perennial threat to aquatic environments. Inexpensive and sustainable sorbents are needed to mitigate the ecological harm of this pollution. To address this need, this study features a low-density polysulfide polymer that is prepared by the direct reaction of sulfur and used cooking oils. Because both sulfur and cooking oils are hydrophobic, the polymer has an affinity for hydrocarbons such as crude oil and diesel fuel and can rapidly remove them from seawater. Through simple mechanical compression, the oil can be recovered and the polymer can be reused in oil spill remediation. The polysulfide is unique because it is prepared entirely from repurposed waste: sulfur is a by-product of the petroleum industry and used cooking oil can be used as a comonomer. In this way, sulfur waste from the oil industry is used to make an effective sorbent for combatting pollution from that same sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800024
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Sustainable Systems
Volume2
Issue number6
Early online date2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • inverse vulcanization
  • oil spills
  • polysulfides
  • sulfur
  • waste valorization

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