Oil spills impose serious damage on the environment. Mechanical recovery by the help of oil sorbents is one of the most important countermeasures in oil spill response. Most sorbents, however, end up in landfills or in incineration after a single use. These options either produce another source of pollution or increase the oil recovery cost. In this study a biosurfactant was used to clean used oil sorbents. This use of biosurfactants is new. Washing parameters tested included sorbent type, washing time, surfactant dosage and temperature. It was found that with biosurfactant washing more than 95% removal of the oil from sorbents was achieved, depending on the washing conditions. Biosurfactants were found to have considerable potential for recycling the used sorbents. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Oil sorbents
- Oil spills