Experts at ICoWEFS 2022 International Forum Recognized Effectiveness of Biomicrogels® in Oil Spill Response
Leading scientists at the international scientific conference on water, energy, food and sustainability (IСoWEFS 2022) recognized Biomicrogels® as an innovative technology in oil spill response.
Oil spills cause serious environmental damage to water sources and lead to the death of plants, algae, birds and fish. The biodegradation of oil films is accompanied by greenhouse gas emissions, which negatively affects the environment. There are many various technologies to clean water from hydrocarbons. To remove large oil spills, protective booms or special chemical reagents (dispersing agents) are used, while oil skimmers are normally preferred for small spills. These technologies are not completely safe, and when using them, there are certain problems arising with the collection of thin films of oil products from the surface of the water. The modern principles of ESG agenda involve the use of sustainable technologies. Thus, eco-friendly materials are becoming of increased interest for oil spill response companies.
At the conference, the company has presented two technological solutions for oil spill response: Biomicrogel® sorbents and Spilltex® filter materials. The use of polysaccharide microgels in oil spill response makes it possible to effectively collect oil films from the water surfaces. The environmentally friendly solutions based on such microgels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the biodegradation of oil films.
Biomicrogel® sorbents used in wastewater treatment from oil products are reagents based on natural pectin. Biomicrogel® particles encapsulate oil droplets residing on the water surface. This encapsulation stops their spreading and helps remove them from oil films formed during oil spills, which quickly spread over long distances along the water surface of rivers and sea currents, allowing for subsequent utilization and recovery of such oil. The sorption efficiency of Biomicrogel® sorbents is 50 units (one part of dry sorbent per fifty parts of oil products). Biomicrogel® sorbents can be used to purify water from iridescent films (with a thickness of ˂ 10 µm), and the main advantage of Biomicrogels® technology is that the encapsulated oil can be separated from the Biomicrogels® sorbent and reused as a commercial product.
In case of thick oil films (more than 1000 µm thick), Spilltex® filter media can be used to remove oil from the wastewater. Spilltex® filter materials are super-hydrophilic cotton fabrics modified with polysaccharide microgels (Biomicrogels®) such as pectin, cellulose and chitosan. Spilltex® filter materials are used for gravitational separation of various water-oil mixtures with oil content of up to 30%. The flow of purified water through the Spilltex® membrane is 4+ times higher than similar membranes used in wastewater treatment, and the separation efficiency of Spilltex® materials reaches 99.9%.
One of examples of using these technologies in oil spill response is the participation of SPC BioMicroGel in eliminating the consequences of environmental disaster in the Arctic in June-August 2020, when more than 20 thousand tons of diesel fuel were spilled in the vicinity of Norilsk. The company’s solutions – Spilltex® filter material and Biomicrogel® BMG-P2 coagulant for water treatment – showed high cleaning efficiency, which was confirmed by an independent accredited laboratory and water sample test reports.
More than 3,000 m2 of Spilltex® filter material was used for eliminating the consequences of environmental disaster in Norilsk
Biomicrogels® are promising, eco-friendly and sustainable technologies for wastewater treatment, oil spill response and separation of water-oil mixtures. In 2021, at a special event of the G20 countries – G20 Innovation Summit – world experts and investors recognized Biomicrogels Group's high-tech solutions as the best and most innovative in the Cleantech category.