Cleaning oil spills with paper mill sludge

February 25, 2013

Millions of tons of paper industry waste could soon be reused into a green solution to mop up oil or chemical spills.

Eco-innovation is at its best when the waste of one industry becomes the raw material of another. This is precisely what the EU funded research project CAPS, is attempting to do with waste sludge from the paper industry. Its objective is to convert it into a highly capable of cleaning up oil and chemical spills.

There are about 18 million tons of paper mill sludges produced in the EU, each year. Most of it is disposed of by burning it. This could soon change. Franc Černec, project leader at the Technological, Environmental and Logistic Centre in Koper, Slovenia came up with an innovative idea almost 17 years ago to reuse this by-product of the paper industry. "I knew about the high absorption rate of paper mill sludge for years," he tells youris.com. "So I thought, why not use these characteristics and turn the waste into a useful product."

The video will load shortly
Credit: Youris.com

Petrol stations, car parks, laboratories and harbours could all soon use the new absorbent. Indeed, it is capable of absorbing any oil or fluid spilled on hard or water surfaces. As by-product from the paper industry, its main benefit is to be much cheaper to produce than any synthetic absorbent currently in use.

Know the first marine outdoor test has been successfully held in the harbour of Koper. In less than 3 minutes the absorbent surrounded by hydrophobic () gauze absorbed about 1 litre of bio-diesel floating on the . Another test was successfully conducted at a petrol station near Ljubljana, where accidentally spilled fuel was absorbed of the ground equally good than with the conventional absorbent.

As a result, Finland and several South American countries have already expressed interest in starting their own production of the paper mill sludge absorbent.

Explore further: Paper waste could be the solution to oil spills

Related Stories

Paper waste could be the solution to oil spills

October 25, 2012

(Phys.org)—Every year approximately 3 billion tonnes of waste are generated in the European Union. But not everything that gets thrown away is necessarily junk; in fact as one European research project is proving, one person's ...

Paper waste used to make bricks

December 19, 2012

Researchers at the University of Jaen (Spain) have mixed waste from the paper industry with ceramic material used in the construction industry. The result is a brick that has low thermal conductivity meaning it acts as a ...

Using bark to vacuum oil spills

November 12, 2010

Cleaning up oil spills is a time consuming, difficult process. But a novel approach developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) uses a new kind of vacuum cleaner that blows bark or other absorbent ...

Green cats eye up new kitty litter

June 6, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scratching around in the kitty tray could soon be a greener experience for cats in the UK and world-wide, thanks to a new type of low-cost cat litter developed by researchers at Imperial College London, in ...

Recommended for you

Hydrogen from sunlight—but as a dark reaction

December 9, 2016

The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis. One of the most promising, recently identified photocatalytic new materials is inexpensive ...

Cloud formation—how feldspar acts as ice nucleus

December 9, 2016

In the atmosphere, feldspar particles act as ice nuclei that make ice crystals grow in clouds and enable precipitation. The discovery was made by researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and University College ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.