Eco Friendly Biodegradable Herding Agent: Merits of Invention & Scientific Methods for Clearing Oil Spills

Eco Friendly Biodegradable Herding Agent: Merits of Invention & Scientific Methods for Clearing Oil Spills

Question: Researchers have developed an environment friendly biodegradable green herding agent for cleaning up crude oil spills on the water. Discuss the merits of this scientific invention. Also discuss the different types of scientific methods which can be used for clearing up such spills.


• Researchers have developed an eco-friendly biodegradable green herding agent for cleaning up light crude oil spills on water

• It is derived from the plant origin small molecule phytol prevalent in the marine environment

• The new substance will replace chemical herders which are currently being used

• City College of New York researchers have maintained that best known herders are those which are chemically stable and non-biodegradable. This remains in the marine ecosystem for years

• The goal of the researchers was developing eco friendly herding molecule as an alternative to silicon e-based polymers

• Herding agents are surface active molecules or surfactants which when added to a liquid like sea water reduce the surface tension

• With regard to herding, which can be added along the periphery of the oil spill slick, the slick is contracted or pushed together for being collected or burned

• Comprehension of this behaviour is vital to design next generation environment friendly herding agents

Options for Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Sponges, microbes and herders change the way in which mankind can respond to oil spills.

• AeroClay, a sponge made of clay and plastic which absorbs oil from the water, leaving the water behind is an important scientific innovation for dealing with oil spills

Oil Consuming Superbugs

• Certain microbes naturally break down petrol so these superbugs are being developed to devour a spill in a more efficient manner

• Research is also looking at bacterial residing in ocean conditions that do not naturally crave crude

Herding Chemicals

• Chemical herding agents have been developed since the 1970s for rounding up oil spills and burn their remains

• The contraction of the oil spill makes for efficient burn-offs. The thicker the oil spill is the more oil gets removed when it is burned

• Spills shrink in surface area getting thicker from 1 to 6 millimetres

• Future herders called silicon based surfactants or super-wetters area able to corral more oil than even the traditional versions

Facts and Stats

• Over the past 4 decades, oil spills have continued to decrease

• ITOPF estimates that over the few decades, seaborne oil has been increasing and oil spills are reducing in number

• Decrease in oil spills is not due to decrease in oil trade

• One of the largest oil spills was the BP oil spill wherein more than 200 million gallons of crude oil was pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, making it the biggest oil spill in US history.

• The 2010 Mumbai oil spill was one of the largest in India
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