New & Innovative Way to Clean Up Oil Spills

New & Innovative Way to Clean Up Oil Spills

We all remember watching in 2010 as crews tried method after method to clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  They tried chemical dispersants and high-power pumps, but did we even remove all the oil? At the University of Michigan, researchers have developed a new material that can separate water from oil using just the power of gravity. The researchers created a specially treated membrane that water can pass through but oil cannot.  Part of the membrane is a water-loving polymer and part is an oil-hating nano particle.  When put together in a solution and combined using UV lights onto a fabric, an impermeable shield is created. The membrane can be attached to a boat and can be used as a skimmer.  After the water passes through the membrane and the oil remains on the surface of the ocean, the oil can then be collected and removed. The creators say this is much more energy efficient--it uses the power of gravity and only requires a boat. No one wants for there to be a massive oil spill on our oceans, but do you think this new technology will help us be prepared in the event of one in the future?  Let us know what you think!

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