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MIT Develops "Paper Towel" For Oil Spills

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the cleanup-on-ocean-three dept.

Earth 105

TheUnknownCoder writes "MIT scientists have created a Nanowire mesh that can selectively absorb hydrophobic (oil-like) liquids from water up to 20 times its weight. The membrane can be recycled many times for future use, and the oil itself can also be recovered. There's even a video of it in action, removing gasoline from water."

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clever (2, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609181)

Honestly, that's pretty awesome.

Human hair is awesome too... (5, Informative)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609441)

Human hair [alaska.edu] does a great job of adsorbing oil, is renewable, and reusable. It can also be burned as fuel when you're done with it. 200,000 pounds of it goes into landfills every day. You could have enough to adsorb the entirety of Exxon Valdez by collecting what is produced in this country in a week.... and it would be essentially free.

You kids and your fancy nanowire meshes... ;-)

Re:Human hair is awesome too... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609669)

Ugh.... burning huge amounts of human hair.
Now there's a job you couldn't pay me for!

Re:Human hair is awesome too... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610015)

I was only following orders!

© Rudolf Hoess

Re:Human hair is awesome too... (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610101)

Human hair does a great job of adsorbing oil, is renewable, and reusable. ... You could have enough to adsorb the entirety of Exxon Valdez by collecting what is produced in this country in a week.... and it would be essentially free.
You think human hair could be used to soak up some of the $2.5 billion Exxon owes the businessmen and citizens of Alaska?

At least the case will finally be over in July, when the Supreme Court hands down its decision.

Don't forget Cherokee hair! (5, Funny)

DaFork (608023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610207)

Human hair does a great job of adsorbing oil
I hear that Cherokee hair is the most absorbent material in the world!

Re:Human hair is awesome too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610271)

Human hair [alaska.edu] does a great job of adsorbing oil
I think you might be onto something here. I'm all most sure at the end of the video the guy says "pussy, pussy".

Re:Human hair is awesome too... (5, Interesting)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610475)

It can also be burned as fuel when you're done with it.
Hair contains about 5% of sulfur. [keratin.com] Burning large amounts of hair wouldn't be a very good idea, unless you like inhaling sulfur oxides.

Re:clever (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609727)

I wonder it it was invented by BLACKS. What do you think?

I wonder what America is going to be like in just 10 years' time, when non-white third world parasites are 50% of the population, and demanding everything from the remaining whites...

But don't tell me - I'm an evil "racist" and that rebuts everything I've just written...

And "We're all the same", no doubt...

Except that the real world proves this not to be the case at all. Blacks are FAR more likely to be violent criminals than whites, and FAR more likely to be as thick as shit to boot.

Re:clever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609797)

I could've sworn this has been done before. Aircraft mechanics use an absorbant pad to clean up hydraulic fluid spills that absorbs the fluid but not water.

Re:clever (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611101)

It has been done before, the article mentions that fact. What's apparently special about this particular material is that it absorbs much less water and it's easier to get the oil out of it again later.

It also appears that it's inexpensive enough that it'll likely pay for itself easily through selling the reclaimed oil and damage reduction.

If they can manufacture it in sufficient quantity at a good price, there's tremendous potential here. Oil spills will happen as long as oil is being transported, we still don't have the best possible way of cleaning it up yet.

This does have other uses as well, it could be used to more efficiently remove oil from storm drains or from ground contamination as well.

Re:clever (2, Informative)

g-to-the-o-to-the-g (705721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610031)

This is not the first time someone has done this. I work in the oil & gas industry, and there are a number of different products for cleaning up oil. At work we use pig mats [newpig.com] , which won't absorb water (if you buy that type). They work as well as anyone could hope for.

Re:clever (4, Interesting)

Kamots (321174) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611033)

I think the clever part about this is that you can heat up these new pads, boil the oil off... let it condense elsewhere...

And then you've got reclaimed oil and a pad that's ready to go again.

Re:clever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611733)

Yes, yes, but this is MIT we're talkin 'bout!!! Slashdot can't help but post anything that originated from MIT whether it be a teddy-bear with gig-E ports in its paws or a paper towel that is an incremental improvement over existing tech.

If it's from MIT, it *must* be completely groundbreaking and genius, sheer genius!

/has many friends that go to MIT, live across the river from the ol' hog

Re:clever (1)

Ramss Morales (13327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611591)

I'm assuming I'm ignorant about the technology, but hopefully it won't absorb Cyanobacteria. That would make the cure worst than the sickness.

In other news Oil Tanker crews.... (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609187)

are enjoying rum being brought back aboard ship en masse.

Best part about this? (2, Interesting)

Flamora (877499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609197)

The fact that the oil can be captured and reused, as well as the membrane itself being reusable.

Re:Best part about this? (3, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609233)

- Redundant.

But, I was hoping the video would show them light the mysterious blue gasoline after.

If it can "recover" gasoline and be instantaniously reuse it... thats very impressive, especially if there are liquids that can reduce, or eliminate the combustability of liquids while mixed with it, and then use the nano-fabric to seperate them and use either for an purpose. Gasoline tanks, airplanes, etc. not to mention many other uses.

Re:Best part about this? (2, Informative)

The -e**(i*pi) (1150927) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610109)

The company my das works for used to sell a chemical that emulsifies gas so if like a tanker ruptures on the road u spray this stuff on it and immediately you could use a blowtorch on it all day and have 0 chance of lighting it.

Re:Best part about this? (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610523)

Yeah there are quite a few products like that, but most of them are really complex and cancel eachother out (making both ineffective for their original use), at least with respect to something as simple as a piece of fabric being able to seperate them.

But you could combine a fuel with another liquid that releases fumes that cancels out the feuls fumes, so that if there was a leak an ignition would be far less or completely impossible.

But a simple piece of this cloth in a feul filter, could seperate the feul from the liquid, use the feul, and then use the liquid to say cool the engine.

A better version of: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4158551.html [freepatentsonline.com]

sweet deal (5, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609199)

So, we can now clean up the environment without losing the petrol? That's so good it has to be fattening.

This is the sort of thing which should have made the "top 10 technologies of the next 4 years" list rather than punk-ass "social networks"

Get real (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609311)

It was from Gartner. They are a bunch of idiots, so why pay attention to those kinds of lists. In fact, I was actually surprised that it made /.

Re:Get real (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609417)

Besides we can (and do) already DO this. We've had these hydrophilic absorbent pads for years. Have one in the bilge of my boat right now. They work great (even when wet which is supposedly one of the advantages of this new thing).

In fact, the US Coast Guard gets pretty annoyed if you don't have some method of cleaning up spills. From TFA, this stuff is supposed to work "better" - tastes great, less filling, picks up more stuff, won't absorb water. Likely it will cost lots more (bad idea, the stuff we have is reasonably expensive). The reusable but is interesting - I'm not sure how you would get the hydrocarbon out of the fabric without creating more of a mess or environmental issue than you already have. If you CAN do this, you have one leg up on the big boy versions of these products that are used to contain actual oil spills. These get recycled in the dump. AFAIK, it's always been possible to recycle the oil from the commercial booms, just not easy, environmentally friendly (think of the detergent that the spill containment people dump out to break up the heavier oil products) nor economically feasible.

We'll see, if it ever gets out of the lab.

Re:Get real (2, Informative)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610315)

Besides we can (and do) already DO this. We've had these hydrophilic absorbent pads for years. Have one in the bilge of my boat right now. They work great (even when wet which is supposedly one of the advantages of this new thing).

In fact, the US Coast Guard gets pretty annoyed if you don't have some method of cleaning up spills. From TFA, this stuff is supposed to work "better" - tastes great, less filling, picks up more stuff, won't absorb water. Likely it will cost lots more (bad idea, the stuff we have is reasonably expensive). The reusable but is interesting - I'm not sure how you would get the hydrocarbon out of the fabric without creating more of a mess or environmental issue than you already have. If you CAN do this, you have one leg up on the big boy versions of these products that are used to contain actual oil spills. These get recycled in the dump. AFAIK, it's always been possible to recycle the oil from the commercial booms, just not easy, environmentally friendly (think of the detergent that the spill containment people dump out to break up the heavier oil products) nor economically feasible.

We'll see, if it ever gets out of the lab.

According to the article, all one has to do to recover the oil is to heat the pad beyond the boiling point of oil. The pad remains intact but the oil evaporates.

Re:Get real (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612219)

Good point, missed that. But that means you have to heat the pad to between 175 and 300 [sapiensman.com] Degrees C. That's a fair amount of energy there.

Re:Get real (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612731)

That energy could be reused (since we aren't making chemical changes, only state changes) or you could use waste heat from power plants or something. 175 isn't very hot.

Re:Get real (2, Interesting)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614229)

Also according to the article, production techniques are similar to paper and thus the expect it to be considerably cheaper. Of course, patent capitalism will disagree.

Re:Get real (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614689)

That's a good point. What I'm wondering is: what is the energy input required to boil oil compared to refining it anew?

Re:Get real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23615211)

What would really be interesting to witness would be the first legal battle to ensue after a private company develops an economical process to recycle absorbed oil and is sued for "stealing" by the very company who spilled it in the first place.

Re:sweet deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609373)

I'm not entirely sure which would be worse - the oil in the ocean or a bunch of broken off nano-fibre.

Re:sweet deal (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609553)

Whichever is most toxic, heavy, and flammable. I'm going to have to put my $5 on the oil.

Re:sweet deal (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613215)

Better yet, just dump the oil into the water in the first place and don't bother with oil-tankers!

What else does it absorb? (5, Funny)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609211)

Does it absorb other liquids as well? If this absorbent power works as well as advertised for other fluids, I may have to petition MIT to release this fabric in sock-form.


Oh.. umm, so I can uhh.. dry my feet. Yeah, that's it. Feet.

Practical Application (2, Insightful)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609271)

There's even a video of it in action, removing gasoline from water."
What I need is the exact opposite of this. I have water in the gas tank of my old truck that I can't seem to get rid of. Every time the guage gets below about an eighth of a tank, it begins coughing and stalling. I've tried some commercial remedies available at auto parts stores, but nothing seems to work well. Draining the tank is a real pain, as well as being very dangerous.

Wow, what a coincidence...just as I was typing this, Car Talk came on the radio. Maybe I'll call those guys.

Re:Practical Application (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609371)

Unless you are constantly and effectively avoiding gas that contains ethanol as an oxidizer, you probably have some problem other than persistent water (so water could be constantly leaking in...). The ethanol will pull the water into the fuel mix and carry it through the engine just fine, so the water should burn off in a tank or two, it shouldn't persist if you are using gas with ethanol in it, and you probably are.

"Dry gas" products are often just ethanol or methanol.

Re:Practical Application (2, Insightful)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609527)

Are you sure that it's water in the tank? The symptoms don't sound like it. Gasoline floats on water, so water should be on the bottom of the tank right where the fuel pick up is. Water should be pumped out first and then fuel.

Re:Practical Application (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609633)

Well, when it starts acting up it only takes a gallon or so of clean gas to get it running again. I'm assuming it's water as this started after I had used up some gas we had in a tank for hurricane season that had been stored in my not-completely-waterproof shed. I put some in the mower, then used the rest in the truck. The mower wouldn't start until I completely replaced the old gas, which is not so easy to do in the truck.

The truck only has a problem when the guage gets fairly low, but not empty. It runs great the rest of the time. This is a custom, oversized tank that the previous owner had put in so maybe that has something to do with the problem only showing up when it's nearly empty.

Re:Practical Application (2, Informative)

Aczlan (636310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609839)

Well, when it starts acting up it only takes a gallon or so of clean gas to get it running again.
I might be inclined to suspect a leaking fuel pickup... which would suck in air if the hole is above the level of the gas... Just m $.02

Re:Practical Application (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611415)

I've had weak fuel pumps show the same symptoms. If I went around a corner in my first car (88 cavalier) without more than 1/4 tank, it would sputter and die. No holes in the fuel pickup, just an almost-out-of-spec fuel pressure coming from the pump. I can only think that it was on it's last legs.

It died within a few months of this first happening; new fuel pump cleared it all up.

Re:Practical Application (1)

retiredtwice (1128097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611445)

Hi
I suspect a lack of proper baffling in the tank. Sounds like fuel starvation to me. If it is a custom large tank, I also suspect it has a large flat bottom. There is not much you can do about that except maybe tip it a bit toward the fuel pickup area.

There are a couple of more complicated solutions like putting in a boost pump near the tank and an "accumulator" (read that as a 1/2 gallon small tank) in between the boost pump and the regular pump. If it is an old truck as you say, it probably uses a low pressure pump up front so it uses basically a vacuum to pull the gas. That is much more inefficient than pressure. A high volume pump near the tank might help, just by itself.

And yes, IWAMIAFL. (I was a mechanic in a former life). LOL

Re:Practical Application (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614765)

This is a custom, oversized tank that the previous owner had put in so maybe that has something to do with the problem only showing up when it's nearly empty.

Maybe it's the gauge that's wrong and the tank is actually empty. If it's a custom tank, the sending unit for the fuel gauge could be incorrectly located or calibrated. So it's reading 1/8 when you're really at 0.

Re:What else does it absorb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609335)

Oh.. umm, so I can uhh.. dry my feet. Yeah, that's it. Feet.
Scantily hidden associations to condoms coupled with the notion that you are going to need it only proves you do not belong on Slashdot.

Re:What else does it absorb? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609625)

I didn't think he was talking about condoms, not with the "sock" reference.

Plus, I suspect your ladyfriend would not be especially appreciative of you using a highly absorbent material in that fashion.

Re:What else does it absorb? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609407)

I'm not so sure it absorbs anything - it's far more likely that it adsorbs [wikipedia.org] the hydrophobic liquids.

Useless, inaccurate summary, as per usual :P

Re:What else does it absorb? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610569)

I'm not so sure it absorbs anything - it's far more likely that it adsorbs the hydrophobic liquids.

Useless, inaccurate summary, as per usual :P
Tell it to Francesco Stellacci, a materials science associate prof at MIT and the PI on the project, who was directly quoted as saying "absorb" in TFA.

A later paragraph also says,

Two key properties make the system work. First, the nanowires form a spaghetti-like mat with many tiny pores that make for good capillarity, or the ability to absorb liquids. Second, a water-repelling coating keeps water from penetrating into the membrane. Oil, however, isn't affected, and seeps into the membrane.

Re:What else does it absorb? (1)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610097)

And does it have a big burly man as a logo?

Re:What else does it absorb? (1)

iphayd (170761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613843)

You realize that I figured that you had really sweaty feet until that last line?

Amazing new nanowire mesh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609219)

... absorbs blue dye from gasoline. News at 11.

hydrophobic liquids (5, Informative)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609263)

that is a great idea... but it's only nonpolar things it can absorb. if it's e85 they're transporting, only 15% will be recovered, and that will all be gasoline (the rest'll just get the fishies drunk)

but if it did pick up polar compounds, it would also pick up water

p.s. never eat sodium polyacrylate.

Re:hydrophobic liquids (2, Insightful)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609529)

How often do people ship e85 over ship like that? I'm serious, I have no idea. I would have thought that oil tankers carry primarily crude oil to refineries, and then the separated stuff from it all over the world, where it gets turned into e85 (or e15 or w/e) locally.

Also, since ethanol is polar, it'll rapidly dissolve into the water and then spread everywhere. Even if you had a membrane that would selectively pull out ethanol, by the time you got there it would have dispersed all over the place (horizontally and vertically). Pulling ethanol out like that would be unfeasible I would think.

Re:hydrophobic liquids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610783)

Ethanol evaporates quickly. Removing it from a spill is therefore unnecessary.

Re:hydrophobic liquids (2, Interesting)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609545)

True, but is that really such a bad thing? Ethanol, compared to gasoline, is harmless. I'm pretty stoked that we'll be able to just lay down a big mat of this material down on top of oil spills in the ocean, and underneath our cars in garages, or maybe even just wrap it around the oil reservoir to create a double-hull of sorts.

Honestly, this would be revolutionary if it could pick up half its weight in oil. The stuff is RECLAIMABLE for chrissake. I can't really say continued use of oil is going to do the world a lot of good, but this goes a long way to preventing waste and helping prolong our limited supplies.

Re: "Ethanol... is harmless" (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609847)

Not when drunk from a jug in large quantities! Yee Haw! Joe Bob, quit huggin' yer cousin.

Re:hydrophobic liquids (2, Interesting)

smaddox (928261) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610057)

Yeah, but it is only reclaimable if you heat it above the evaporation point of the oil. Good luck doing that in air. The risk of combustion is too high.

Doing so in a nitrogen environment is possible, but is it really any cheaper than just making another sheet?

Re:hydrophobic liquids (3, Interesting)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610195)

Don't they boil crude oil to separate gasoline from diesel from plastic-grade crude, and so on? I think (assuming that the material is heat-resistant enough) we could just throw a big pile of it into the separator tanks and boil it out.

It's possible that I misunderstand the process, of course. Is it just not that simple?

Re:hydrophobic liquids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610477)

p.s. never eat sodium polyacrylate.

FUCK YOU! I'll eat what I want! NOM NOM NOM /dies.

Never eat sodium polyacrylate (2, Interesting)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23615315)

Well there go my dinner plans. Thanks a lot, Slashdot.

(OK, for those of us who are not materials scientists: its the chemical equivalent of D&D's old Dust of Dryness. You know, does 6D6 if sprinkled on a water elemental, or draws the water out of what it touches on the way down if you eat it. Not too likely to be fatal, though, unless you swallow it in quantities large enough to make table salt fatal. The MSDS says emergency treatment is "drink two glasses of water and then induce vomiting".)

Re:Never eat sodium polyacrylate (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23618425)

that'll get you stopped up! anyway, i'm not a materials scientist. (i'm a future materials scientist :))

Filtering exhaust fumes? (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609277)

Could this be used to filter car and big-truck exhaust fumes?

Re:Filtering exhaust fumes? (1)

hampton (209113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610627)

I think catalytic converters take care of most of that stuff in cars and trucks.

Re:Filtering exhaust fumes? (5, Interesting)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610709)

There are two problems:
1. The exhaust fumes would have to be precooled. Otherwise, any absorbed hydrocarbons would be desorbed right away due to high temperature.
2. Reactive species of nitrogen present in exhaust fumes (NO, NO2, etc.) would oxidize the nanowires, so you would have to have a catalytic converter somewhere before them in the exhaust path to remove them, and the cooling phase would have to occur between the converter and the nanowire absorber (platinum only works in high temperatures).

Since the converter does the same job already (by catalyzing the oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons in excess oxygen), I think this would be redundant. Additionally, I suppose the nanowires would only remove aerosols and not gaseous hydrocarbons, so the standard platinum converter may actually be more efficient at reducing HC emissions than nanowires.

finally :) (5, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609293)

When we completely run out of oil we will have found the perfect solution to clean up the environment...

Also, by that time the ability to recover the last bits of oil from the oceans from spills in the past will be fought over with tremendous military might, even if it's done from rowing boats.

Now I know why there are so many people in prison, it's to supply our future stock of galley slaves powering the next global war.

Re:finally :) (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609399)

Nuclear powered liposuction is equally as ridiculous, and it would probably result in more fuel, at least the first time around.

Re:finally :) (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610295)

I advocate turning old people into fuel.

SenOil... is people?

Re:finally :) (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610691)

I advocate turning other people into fuel.

I'll be old someday, but I'll never be someone else.

Re:finally :) (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610201)

When we completely run out of oil we will have found the perfect solution to clean up the environment...

Also, by that time the ability to recover the last bits of oil from the oceans from spills in the past will be fought over with tremendous military might, even if it's done from rowing boats.
There's actually a lot of oil sitting on the sea floor, because it doesn't float forever.

That seafloor oil is one of the main reasons that drilling off the coast of California and in the Gulf of Mexico is not allowed. Whenever there is a spill (and there always is, platform drilling is dirty), oil sinks and mixes in with mud on the seabed. Whenever a big storm rolls in, some of that oil gets churned up and washes ashore.

If you've ever been on a beach with oil on it, it isn't pretty.
You need a stiff brush to get the hydrocarbons off your feet.

Here's the most recent example I can recall:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiyeh_power_station_oil_spill [wikipedia.org]
That oil is going to be washing up on beaches & shorelines for decades.

Re:finally :) (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610287)

that sucks. I didn't know that.

I have seen beaches covered with oil before (I live in nl), and have extracted a couple of birds from oil spilled on to a beach before.

Always remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609301)

Don't forget to bring a towel!

nothing new (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609317)

This is actually not new. My Dad is a geologist and he has had this stuff for quite some time. They're actually jokingly referred to as diapers. Although this implementation from MIT is an upgrade to the current ones, dare I say, more absorbent than the leading brand name oil picker upper.

mod dowcn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609345)

pract1cal purposes, dying. See? It's schemes. Frankly despite the

creators develop newclear power vs. oil woes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609393)

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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Mining Polluted Waterways (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609403)

I'd love to see someone use these materials to filter regular polluted water in our waterways (after a regular filter to keep living creatures out) to both clean the water and recover usable chemicals for fuel.

And someday someone's going to figure out how to cheaply and easily mine our landfills for all that plastic we've buried for nearly a century. When the cheap oil's gone soon, that's going to be a reasonable alternative if we have the tech.

Re:Mining Polluted Waterways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609691)

Harvesting the plastic is actually a great idea - nearly 100% of the energy used in production is recoverable.

Re:Mining Polluted Waterways (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610331)

I think we'll do it with something like geobacter [wikipedia.org] cultures GM'ed to require a critical "mask" nutrient that is easy to supply to only the target soil volumes where it doesn't occur otherwise (and is itself both harmless and, naturally, biodegradable). That way we can just "innoculate" target areas, work the nutrient into the soil, and let nature do the rest. Perhaps a variety of geobacter that putrefies the plastic into a recoverable sludge, then physically work the sludgy soil to collect the sludge into recoverable pits.

Or maybe there's a way to harvest the geobacter products with earthworms. Maybe we can get the earthworms to depend on the sludge - or some material in it, leaving the energetic oil undigested or stored in their bodies - into their diet. As well as some other "bait" nutrient that we leave at the surface. Then maybe we can just let "nature" do the work of digging the treasure out of the dirt and bringing it home to harvest, with minimum energy input and maximum sniffed out recovery, but all under control so we don't unleash some terrible plague [slashdot.org] that entirely destroys our "pre-trash" stock of plastic.

Re:Mining Polluted Waterways (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23611201)

And someday someone's going to figure out how to cheaply and easily mine our landfills for all that plastic we've buried for nearly a century. When the cheap oil's gone soon, that's going to be a reasonable alternative if we have the tech.
Look up thermal depolymerization. It's already being used to turn turkey waste into oil, and it can also handle almost everything in a landfill.

The Quilted Nano Picker Upper (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609447)

I bet Bounty is pissssed.

Bacon? (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609487)

Somehow, I'm thinking this could be used to cook bacon (maybe because its 9:00 in the morning). Then again, grease and oil makes bacon good. MIT better not ruin my bacon-eating-experience!!!!

And for the mandatory "ughhhh"-extracting joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609543)

That's a pretty slick invention!

Yeah but... (4, Insightful)

allmanbro2 (1271890) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609551)

To reclaim the oil, you have to boil it. Seems like on many scales you would use more energy "wringing out" the paper than you would get from the recovered fuel.

Re:Yeah but... (3, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609631)

As always it depends on where the energy comes from to generate the heat to bring it to a boil... OTOH if the material is expensive, more so than the oil... they'll just do it anyways to reclaim the material.

Re:Yeah but... (2, Interesting)

Castletech (1236226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609659)

To reclaim the oil, you have to boil it. Seems like on many scales you would use more energy "wringing out" the paper than you would get from the recovered fuel.
Very true but think about the time and energy used to clean up current oil spills. It may balance out.

Re:Yeah but... (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609925)

Let's hope it does a little better than 'balance out'. Probably will though - oil isn't going to get any cheaper.

Nothing new, this has been around for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609603)

This stuff has been available for years... Maybe the new stuff is thinner, but it's the same idea, nothing that innovative beyond what already exists.

Tags: slick (1)

Xandu (99419) | more than 6 years ago | (#23609681)

Best. Tag. Ever!

Slogan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23609773)

The slicker picker upper.

Same or similar to this earlier discovery? (2, Interesting)

Dalrain (1170647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610105)

I was reading the description, and it seems to have the same properties as a material discovered by a professor at my institution. http://www.wooster.edu/News/0708/news/PaulEdmistonGel.php [wooster.edu]

Re:Same or similar to this earlier discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610495)

I also worked for a company about 6 years ago that had a product to recover oil from water. http://www.torrcanada.com/

Re:Same or similar to this earlier discovery? (1)

Dalrain (1170647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610759)

My apologies for replying to my own post, but I found his patent application as well. (This should allow some comparison between the methods involved.)
SWELLABLE SOL-GELS, METHODS OF MAKING, AND USE THEREOF [uspto.gov]

Unanticipated consequences? (2, Interesting)

mencomenco (551866) | more than 6 years ago | (#23610267)

As a bioengineer, I'd be asking what's the "shred strength" and propensity to release individual nanofiblers in a variety of situations.

It's easy to forsee accidental damage to these meshes either during manufacturing or deployemnt in industrial or maritime settings. What's the environmental and biological consequence of releasing or ingesting science's latest laboratory miracle?

And kudos to previous posters for querying lifecycle energy costs.

Ok sure it can absorb 20 times its own weight, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23610395)

But more importantly, will it blend?

Whats missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23611641)


Whats interesting about the demonstration is what isn't in it. Seawater. So it absorbs oils fine in what appears to be clean tap water.

Christian Loriau (1)

Christian_Loriau (1299375) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612055)

i hate paper towels. just use a wash cloth or cloth towel. i see all these advertisements for paper towels that you can use over and over, JUST LIKE A CLOTH TOWEL, only you throw it away. -Christian Loriau

Next in nanotechnology (1)

advantis (622471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23612749)

Quantum subatomic mesh structures, sharp enough and strong enough to cut through CO2 inter-atomic bonds without having to put energy into it. Would also help when all the trees are gone.

Re: MIT Develops "Paper Towel" For Oil Spills (1)

LaoziSailor (866696) | more than 6 years ago | (#23613635)

With the price of oil going up, it is only a matter of time that the USA will uncap their reserves in Alaska. Hey!, wouldn't you do the same?, ...it seems to cost $3 to bring up a barrel of oil and sell at $150 seems like a hell of a deal. So spillages will undoubtedly increase in the future. Good thing we (actually MIT) have discovered this "Nanowire mesh."

Old product, has been around for many years. (1)

bjbest (808259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614593)

Industry has used oil-only absorbant pads for years. At the gas station where I worked, we had a whole carton for cleaning up minor spills and leaks. It absorbed only petroleum products, and seperated gas from water. Also useful for cleaning oil spills outside in wet conditions, where you don't want the absorbancy wasted with water that doesn't need to be cleaned up.

http://www.spillsupply.com/Pads.html [spillsupply.com]

diapers, anyone? (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23614657)

My Dad used to be a mechanic at a large excavation company and when I was a teenager, he used to bring me into the shop to help him out on weekends. Because gas and oil spills are common in such a shop, they had these white pads that would soak up gas and oil but nothing else, not even water. The mechanics called them diapers. Did MIT just reinvent these using nano materials? The only difference I can see between these and the MIT invention is that the shop diapers is that the latter were definitely not reusable, although they could soak up an amazing amount of liquid.

Super absorbent... (1)

TheBunnyGirl.com (1299691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23615369)

It's about time the tampon had a revolutionary technology!

Shamwow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23615651)

No one heard of shamwow?

They should just use this instead... (2, Funny)

Justin Hopewell (1260242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23617083)

There was an article on The Onion years ago about a new three-ply Bounty paper towel that was supposed to be so absorbent, moisture would be pulled into it, whereupon the liquid would go through a rigorous "Moisture Punishment System". If you didn't reseal the roll in its special case when you weren't using it, it could absorb all the moisture in the room and asphyxiate you. When asked if they were thinking about introducing a four-ply version, the Bounty spokesperson said, "Oh, no. That would be playing God."
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