Scientists from Bombay Textile Research Association have developed bio-degradable, eco-friendly oil sorbent from cotton waste. The developed sorbent can be used to clean oil spills in land surface, water surface and even under water also.

There is a great potential for oil sorbents made from natural fibres to replace synthetic oil sorbents like polypropylene. In India, high cotton production is accompanied by generation of tons of cotton waste in each year either in textile mills or from cotton fields. Most of these wastes are disposed off by burning, which in turns increases carbon emission in atmosphere which leads to global warming and again it creates pollutions. Hence utilization of sustainable materials as oil sorbent will be value addition, eco-friendly and a green initiative to control pollution in a dual manner, opined by BTRA Scientists.

Cotton waste procured from textile mills in their various processes like carding, blow room etc. was cleaned and processed to a non-woven fabric. The non-woven fabric was chemically modified to attain super oleophilic and super hydrophobic property. The chemically functionalized cotton sorbent was found to be superior than synthetic sorbent like polypropylene in terms of oil absorption capacities and water repellent properties. Sorbent can absorb 25-30 times of oil on the weight of sorbent. Sorbent have sufficient durability to reuse at least 5-6 times repeatedly and is fully bio-degradable under environmental conditions after its service life there by mitigating its disposal problem unlike synthetic materials.

The developed sorbent has been evaluated for the efficacy for cleaning oil spillages in land surfaces, surface water and under water as it is extremely water repellant like a lotus leaf ; claimed by BTRA Scientists.