Thursday, July 10, 2008

Slick Idea from MIT: Nanotech Oil Spill Blotter-Upper

"MIT develops a 'paper towel' for oil spills"
MIT News (May 30, 2008)

"A mat of nanowires with the touch and feel of paper could be an important new tool in the cleanup of oil and other organic pollutants, MIT researchers and colleagues report in the May 30 online issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

"The scientists say they have created a membrane that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil, and can be recycled many times for future use. The oil itself can also be recovered. Some 200,000 tons of oil have already been spilled at sea since the start of the decade.

" 'What we found is that we can make "paper" from an interwoven mesh of nanowires that is able to selectively absorb hydrophobic liquids--oil-like liquids--from water,' said Francesco Stellacci, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the work...."

Far from the worst idea I've read about. Best of all, instead of complaining about a problem, this team did something.

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