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Filamentous Carbon Particles for Cleaning Oil Spills

Research scientists at the University of Central Florida have created unique carbon filaments as a byproduct of a portable hydrogen generator technology that produces hydrogen from hydrocarbon feed stocks. These carbon filaments are tubular approximately one micron in diameter and possess large surface areas which makes them ideal for absorbing and binding with crude oil. These carbon particles could be scattered across the water surface where a spill has occurred and after binding with the oil the mixture is easily removed from the water’s surface. Another technique using the carbon filaments described here is to deposit the carbon particles on an iron-alumina surface. When the oil binds to these heavier particles it sinks and remains under water until the oil is broken down by microbes. The carbon filament method is less harmful to wildlife and keeps the oil from contaminating nearby coastlines. Technology Applications: Carbon filaments aid in the removal of oil from water surfaces in the ocean. This technology could be used by environmental clean-up and spill prevention organizations to create new products that contain and clean-up oil spills better.

Benefits:

• Non-toxic carbon filaments bind to crude oil and enhance cleaning process • Inexpensive natural byproduct of a portable hydrogen generator

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