Professor Kim Yong-hyup at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering of Seoul National University announced on April 12 that his research team developed an improved technology for the recovery of spilled oil from contaminated seawater by means of a graphene structure.
“We focused on the properties of graphene, that is, its tendency to adsorb oil and push out water,” the professor explained, continuing, “When brought into contact with a thin oil layer on the sea, the graphene structure we developed at this time quickly absorbs only the oil by using a capillary action.”
According to the research team, its technology and structure can absorb up to 20,000 liters of oil per hour in an area of 1 m2 and the recovered oil can be used as it is, without any refinement, because it has a purity level of 99.9%.
“We have already successfully tested the new technology in high-wave environments and the structure requires no external power because it makes use of a capillary phenomenon and gravity,” the professor mentioned, adding, “Its performance has been maintained at 99.9% or higher in experiments using different organic solvents such as crude oil, diesel, gasoline, benzene and hexane.”
Details of the research are available on the online edition of Scientific Reports.