Development of innovative products made of flax chaff for adsorption of oil spillage
Akobuije Stanley IGWE, MSC PID
Supervisor: Dr Elena Sazhina
- Motivation: 2009 is the Year of Natural Fibres
- International Conference on Natural Fibres 2009
- Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining,
- London, UK
- To critically assess existing knowledge on products made of natural fibres, and in particular for adsorption of crude oil spillage
- To propose new products made of flax chaff and natural fibres and to assess their manufacturing costs, environmental impact and marketing niche
- To design and manufacture working prototypes and to evaluate their properties
REVIEW OF EXISTING KNOWLEDGE
Pasila (2004) Marine Pollution Bulletin 49 (2004) 1006–1012:
A brief description of the adsorption fliter technology developed in the paper:
‘Oil residues can be cleaned from water by running it through a simple filter made from freeze treated, dried, milled and then fragmented plant material. It is possible to produce filters, which pass water but adsorb oil.Fine spring harvested hemp fibre (diameter less than 1 mm) and reed canary grass fragments adsorb 2–4 g of oil per gram of adsorption material compared to 1–3 g of water.
Brainstorming of ideas and feedback:
presentation at the INTERREG FLAX workshop on 28 May 2010
- Novelty of the product: An innovation to explore the economic and commercial value of the flax chaff via
- Creating a product to solve urgent oil spill problem
- The product is based on flax chaff that is growing abundantly in many areas such as Northern France
- Flax chaff currently is a waste product.
- The target market will be oil production industries, such as BP
- Urgency of the problem under consideration: BP disaster in Mexican Gulf
- Discussion and Conclusion
- The oil adsorption mat is easy to use. Its prime manufacturing cost is low. Also flax chaff is a waste product and therefore will cost less. Its transportation will add little cost because it is light and thin compared with Frogmat
- It is environmentally friendly because it is biodegradable .
- Its unique selling price is cost efficiency and being made of renewable materials
- Its market niche is seen as open sea spills contrary to Frogmats for coastal areas
- Its market size is big; there is daily occurrence of oil spillage.
- Its demand will be high because most of the existing product for cleaning oil spillage are complex and expensive
- Recovering oil from the adsorption mat may follow Frogmat technology
- LCA options may include either reusable or disposable versions of flax mat
- The product is at the stage of developing a methodology
- for effective adsorption of large-scale oil spillages.
- Business assessment:
- Production costs of flax chaff are low because this is a byproduct of flax fibres
- Processing costs are assessed against existing production procedure of straw Frogmat .
- Links to Frogmat company at Isle of Wight are sought with the help of Business Development Manager of SET, UoB
The project aims at developing Oil Adsorption Mat using flax chaff.
It is designed to utilize the oil-adsorption property of Flax chaff to clean up oil spillage by placing the Adsorption Mat on top of oil and allow it to soak the oil
The proposed adsorption mat is made up of chaff wrapped in a plastic bag with openings to allow the adsorption process.
After the adsorption the oil can be recovered and processed.
- Environmental impact and Life Cycle Analysis
- Growing flax plants reduces carbon dioxide
- The flax products are biodegradable after useful life
Alternative products for oil spill cleanup:
Many thanks to the INTERREG FLAX team at the
School of Pharmacy and Bimolecular Sciences.
l thank Mr Bill Whitney for technical help,.
Dr Steve Plummer, Mrs Zoe Osmond the BDM of SET, UoB,
and the supervisor are thanked for their kind assistance.
Joanna Lumley and the FROGMATmade of straw
Oil spillage absorbent granules