Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - The Alabama Marine Environmental Science Consortium

Project Overview

Biorenewable Seafood Wastes for Removal or in Situ Remediation of Complex Oil Or Oil/Dispersant Mixtures in the Gulf of Mexico

Principal Investigator
The University of Alabama
Center for Green Manufacturing


Crude oil spills, such as that of BP's Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, require environmentally safe and inexpensive, but effective, solutions for cleanup.  One strategy we are pursuing is the use of natural sorbent materials that are readily available from seafood wastes and are fully compatible with the Gulf environment. 

In this study, the absorption of crude oil from water was carried out using dried, ground shrimp shell of different particle sizes and two different kinds of chitin extracted and reconstituted from shrimp shell.  The ground shrimp shell absorbed as much as 2.9 times its mass in crude oil, and the oil was back extracted using the solvents hexane or ethyl acetate or the ionic liquid 1,3-diethylimidazolium acetate ([C2mim]OAc).

This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.