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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 9981–9991 | Cite as

Ecologically friendly ways to clean up oil spills in harbor water areas: crude oil and diesel sorption behavior of natural sorbents

  • Tatjana Paulauskiene
Research Article
  • 224 Downloads

Abstract

This work aimed to evaluate the sorption capacity of natural sorbents (wool, moss, straw, peat) and their composites during the sorption of crude oil and of diesel overspread on the water surface. The work presents the research results of the maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents/their composites using crude oil/diesel; the sorption capacity of the sorbents/their composites when crude oil/diesel is spilled on the water surface; and the research results of the unrealized part of the crude oil/diesel in the sorbents. The results of the analysis showed that all the sorbents and their composites have their selectivity to crude oil less than 50%. Also the results showed that the distribution of diesel and water in the sorbents and their composites is very different compared with the distribution of crude oil during the sorption analyses. In total, the diesel in the liquid mass absorbed by the straw and the peat amounted to 17 and 20%, respectively. This shows that these sorbents are much more selective for water but not for diesel. A larger part of the diesel was in the liquid amount absorbed by the composites—up to 33%. Accordingly, the use of these composites in watery environments is much more effective than the use of individual sorbents. The composition of sorbents in the composite enhanced both the hydrophobic and the oleophilic properties; as a result, a more effective removal of the diesel and oil from the water surface was achieved.

Keywords

Crude oil and diesel fuel cleanup Natural sorbents Sorbent composites Maximum sorption capacity Water sorption capacity Sorption capacity 

Introduction

The Baltic Sea is an artery of exclusive traffic shipping intensity when compared to other seas; therefore, navigation of the Baltic has a multi-faceted effect on the environment. About half of the ships sailing in the Baltic Sea are transporting various cargoes. The other part belongs to oil tankers, ships and other vessels (Helsinki 2010).

Increasing the number of shipments of crude oil in the Baltic Sea results in an increase of their transhipments at oil terminals. This also determines the increasing number of incidents during the loading of crude oil and oil products, where oil is spilt into the environment (Tamis et al. 2012, Paulauskiene et al. 2011).

Nowadays, great attention has been given to research into the usage of natural sorbents for crude oil and its products spills and response opportunities. These sorbents are biodegradable, and often produced as waste, so their resources are renewable (Tan et al. 2010, Kenes et al. 2012, Sidik et al. 2012). The use of natural sorbents for the removal of small spills within the port water area could be one of the most promising and environmentally friendly methods of addressing this issue.

The use of many natural sorbents such as cotton (Cheng et al. 2017, Singh et al. 2013, Wang et al. 2013a, b, Suni et al. 2006), bark (Demirel Bayık and Altın 2017), kapok (Wang et al. 2013a, b), rice, saw dust (Zang et al. 2015), peat (Klavins and Porshnov 2013), wheat and barley straw (Tijani et al. 2016, Li et al. 2013, Hussein et al. 2008a, b, 2011, Ibrahim et al. 2009, Ibrahim et al. 2010), sugarcane bagasse (Said et al. 2009), rice hulls (Angelova et al. 2011, Uzunov et al. 2012, Kenes et al. 2012, Sidiras et al. 2014), walnut shells (Zhao et al. 2012, Srinivasan and Viraraghavan 2008, 2010), palm leaves or pith waste (Hussein et al. 2008a, b), and banana stem fibers (Alaa El-Dina et al. 2017, Sathasivam and Haris 2010) for the collection of crude oil and oil products has been explored. This research shows that some of these have a high potential for the collection of crude oil and its products from the water’s surface, as compared to commercially available synthetic materials, because they have a higher sorption capacity (Karan et al. 2010). However, they usually absorb water as well, which is a huge weakness of using sorbents; therefore, it is necessary not only to carry out tests on the maximum sorption capacity of sorbents but also to determine their hydrophobicity through separating the amounts of absorbed water and of oil products.

The goal of this research paper is to evaluate the sorption capacity of natural organic sorbents and their composites during the sorption process of crude oil/diesel fuel spread on the water surface.

Materials and methods

Four single natural sorbents were used in this research: wool, moss, straw, peat, and two composites of natural sorbents—straw and peat (Fig. 1). All sorbents before using were dried in natural conditions (ambient air humidity—50%, temperature—20 °C), mechanically cleaned and crushed into equal-sized particles with a diameter varying in the range of 1.0–1.5 cm. The sorbent composites were arranged by taking the prepared single sorbents, straw and peat, and merely blended in different proportions (proportions 25–75 wt.% and 50–50 wt.% or 1:3 and 1:1).
Fig. 1

Sorbents. a Peat. b Wool. c Moss. d Straw. e Straw-peat (1:3), f Straw-peat (1:1)

Bulk density is one of the main indicators determining the porosity of sorbent and shows its sorption capacity. The straw has the highest bulk density − 0.032 g cm−3, the microfiber structure of it is much denser than other natural sorbents Paulauskiene et al. 2014. The structure of peat is also slightly denser (bulk density—0.029 g cm−3) than other natural sorbents, because it was ready for use after crushing peat briquettes. The lowest bulk density have moss − 0.005 g cm−3 and wool − 0.008 g cm−3. This is because these sorbents are highly porous; their structure is dense naturally and is not multiplexed mechanically.

Water samples were taken from the area of the Curonian Lagoon in front of the oil terminals to resemble the likely circumstances of an oil spill.

The salinity of the lagoon water used in the research was 0.97‰, the content of solid particles was 13.62 g L−1, and the water pH was 8.22. It is known that in strongly alkaline and strongly acidic media, the cleaning efficiency of crude oil and oil products can be higher. The water conductivity has been determined at a value that is equal to 2 mS, and the temperature and oxygen content during the research were equal to 18 °C and 7.29 mg L−1, respectively.

Light crude oil (transported through underwater pipelines from the Butinge Oil Terminal; density—869 kg m−3) from the refinery ORLEN Lietuva and class 2 arctic diesel exported through Klaipeda Oil Terminal (EN 590 standard “Automotive fuels–Diesel–Requirements and test methods”; density—831 kg·m−3) were taken to investigation.

Analysis method of the maximum sorption capacity of crude oil/diesel by the sorbents and their composites

The glass container was filled with 200 mL of crude oil/diesel, the cross-sectional area ​​meshes were placed in them and an appropriate amount of the sorbent or sorbent composites and the crude oil/diesel excess was allowed to drip for 2 min. All experiments were repeated three times.

A maximum crude oil/diesel sorption rate of g∙g−1 was calculated, i.e., the ratio of the sorbent absorbed, the crude oil/diesel mass (g), and the dry sorbent mass (g):
$$ S=\frac{m_0}{m_1} $$
(1)
where m0 is the initial mass of the dry sorbent, g; m1—is the mass of the sorbent with crude oil/diesel at the end of the sorption test.

Analysis method of the content of the crude oil/diesel spilled on the water surface in the sorbents and their composites

The sorption of the crude oil/diesel spilled on the water surface by the sorbents and their composites was analyzed using weight and gas chromatographic methods.

Weight method

An analysis was performed as follows: five glass containers (equipped with cross-sectional area meshes) were filled with 500 mL of water. The surface of the water was covered with 10 mL (8.694 g) of crude oil and diesel (8.312 g) and the sorbent was placed on top of this. After 30, 60, 90 min the sorbent was removed from the container and weighed and the sorption capacity of the crude oil/diesel spilled on the water surface was calculated.

Sorption measurements for crude oil/diesel were carried out in three replicates for each type of sorbent/sorbents composite. All of the analyses were performed under the same conditions.

Chromatography method

During this analysis, following the sorption process, the sorbent of the crude oil/diesel overspread on the water surface was removed along with the mesh from the glass container, and the crude oil/diesel excess was allowed to drip for 2 min. The amount of crude oil/diesel absorbed by the sorbents and their composites was determined in accordance with LST EN ISO 16703:2011 Soil quality—determination of the content of hydrocarbons in the range C10 to C40 by gas chromatography as follows:

A known amount of the sorbent is 1 h extracted by mechanical shaking (120 horizontal shaking movements per minute) with acetone/n-heptane (Fig. 2). The organic layer is separated and washed with water. Polar compounds are removed by adsorption on florisil. An aliquot of the purified extract is analyzed by capillarity gas chromatography.
Fig. 2

Preparation of the samples for chromatographic analysis

A gas chromatograph equipped with an injection system, a capillary column and flame ionization detector (FID), 10 m length capillarity immobilized 100% dimethyl polysiloxane column (of fused silica) of 0.1 mm internal diameter and film thickness of 0.1 μm is used.

The total peak area in the range delimited by the standards n-decane (C10H22) and n-tetracontane (C40H82) is measured, and the amount of hydrocarbons in the sample is quantified against an external standard consisting of equal amounts of two different types of mineral oil.

Crude oil/diesel content of the sorbent was calculated as follows:
$$ {w}_{\mathrm{h}}=\rho \bullet \frac{V_{\mathrm{h}}}{m}\bullet \frac{100}{w_{\mathrm{s}}} $$
(2)

wh is the crude oil/diesel mass of the sorbent, mg kg−1 dry matter; ρ is the crude oil/diesel mass concentration of the extract calculated from the calibration function, mg L−1; Vh is the volume of the n-heptane extract, mL; m is the mass of the sample taken for analysis, g; ws is the dry matter content of the sorbent, % (mass fraction).

After determining the amount of crude oil/diesel by gas chromatography the percentage of water absorbed by the sorbent was calculated as follows:
$$ {m}_{{\mathrm{H}}_2\mathrm{O}}=\frac{m_{{\mathrm{H}}_2\mathrm{O}}\bullet 100\%}{m_{\mathrm{mix}}-{m}_0} $$
(3)
where m0 is the initial mass of the dry sorbent, g; mmix is the mass of the dry sorbent with crude oil/diesel and water, g; \( {m}_{{\mathrm{H}}_2\mathrm{O}} \) is the mass of the water, g.

Results and discussion

Analysis of results and discussion of the maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents and their composites

The maximum sorption capacity is the maximum amount of sorbate in grams that can be absorbed and retained in its structure per 1 g of the sorbent.

While analyzing the results of the maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents, it was observed that the crude oil sorbents were characterized by a higher sorption capacity (density = 869 kg m−3) during the sorption, when compared to the diesel. The value of the indexes during the test ranged from 5.137 g⋅g−1 using straw up to 9.411 g⋅g−1 using wool (Table 1). While using the lighter oil product—the diesel (density = 831 kg m−3)—the maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents ranged from 3.867 g⋅g−1 (using straw) up to 6.334 g⋅g−1 (using peat), i.e., 25 and 33% lower, respectively, when compared with the lowest and the highest value of the crude oil sorption when using single sorbents. Radetic et al. (2008) in their research of the sorption capacity of recycled wool determined that the wool has well-developed inner and outer surface, macro- and microporous structure, and roughness of the wool fiber surface which has an important role in oil sorption. In case of crude oil, the sorption capacity varied in a range from 11.1 to 12.5 g⋅g−1, while for diesel—9.6–10.6 g⋅g−1. These results are similar to ours.
Table 1

The maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents and their composites using crude oil and diesel

Sorbent/sorbent composites

Maximum sorption capacity, g⋅g−1

Crude oil

Diesel

Peat

7.071 ± 0.274

6.334 ± 0.012

Wool

9.411 ± 0.151

5.622 ± 0.335

Moss

8.985 ± 0.196

6.170 ± 0.089

Straw

5.137 ± 0.402

3.867 ± 0.306

Straw-peat (SP 1:3)

5.395 ± 0.036

4.563 ± 0.126

Straw-peat (SP 1:1)

4.125 ± 0.038

3.227 ± 0.050

There is a possibility to decrease the sorbents sorption capacity for water through additional preparation methods, for example Hussein et al. 2008a, b in their research after carbonization (t = 400 °C, 0.5–3 h) of straw reached the sorbents sorption capacity of 1.9–3.5 g·g−1.

Another aspect of the results is the comparison of the single sorbents with the composites and with composites of different compositions. It was found that straw has the lowest sorption capacity comparing with other single sorbents, but it has good hydrophobic and buoyancy properties. The results of the maximum sorption capacity for the composite SP 1:3 showed that the capacity for crude oil/diesel amounted up to 5.395 g⋅g−1, as well as for the composite SP1:1—up to 4.125 g⋅g−1.

Analysis of the results and discussion of sorption in the sorbents for crude oil spilled on the water surface

The most important parameter determined during this analysis was the crude oil amount absorbed by sorbents and their composites, which at the beginning of the analysis (30 min) ranged from 1.787 g·g−1 (using moss) to 5.046 g·g−1 (using the composite SP 1:3) (Fig. 3). At the end of the analysis (90 min) the amount of absorbed crude oil ranged from 1.736 to 5.260 g·g−1 for the same substances, moss and the sorbent composite SP 1:3, respectively.
Fig. 3

Variation of the crude oil amount absorbed by the sorbents and their composites over time

It was observed that the sorbent composites (SP 1:1, SP 1:3) had absorbed two times more crude oil when compared with the single organic sorbents.

The sorption of crude oil using the sorbents and their composites was tested in parallel by two methods: weight and chromatography. The weight method is not sufficiently accurate for the determination of the amount of absorbed crude oil, since the total mass does not clearly show which part of this is crude oil and which part is water. Therefore, the absorbed liquid mass using the weight method was used as an auxiliary parameter to determine how much of the crude oil and how much water was absorbed by the sorbent from the water surface during the crude oil sorption.

Figure 3 shows the amounts of crude oil absorbed by the sorbents determined using the chromatographic method; whereas Table 2 shows the amounts of water absorbed by the sorbents and obtained from the amount of the absorbed liquid calculated using the weight method by subtracting the absorbed crude oil amount calculated using the chromatographic method.
Table 2

Water amount absorbed by the sorbents and their composites during the sorption of crude oil

Sorbent/sorbent composites

Amount of absorbed water, g·g−1

30 min

60 min

90 min

Peat

11.188 ± 1.125

9.918 ± 0.153

14.340 ± 2.192

Wool

8.791 ± 0.402

8.043 ± 0.362

9.565 ± 0.424

Moss

13.360 ± 1.037

16.249 ± 1.585

17.081 ± 0.372

Straw

4.580 ± 0.027

5.486 ± 0.183

5.392 ± 0.164

Straw-Peat (1:3)

6.943 ± 0.649

7.888 ± 1.335

7.574 ± 1.203

Straw-Peat (1:1)

6.420 ± 0.170

8.032 ± 0.410

9.397 ± 0.395

Thus, the results lead to certain conclusions about the selectivity of the sorbents and their composites with regard to crude oil and to the water.

The amount of water absorbed by the peat and moss was the highest during the analysis period. This varied from 11.188 g·g−1 at the beginning of the analysis using the peat, to 17.081 g·g−1 at the end of the analysis using the moss (Table 2). When wool was used, the largest amount of water was absorbed as well, but the increase of the absorbed amount was more stable in a long way, i.e., it varied in a range from 8.791 to 9.565 g·g−1. Using the composites, the absorbed amount of the water was lower and did not vary so dynamically—in the range of 6.943 to 7.574 g·g−1 using the composite SP 1:3; and in the range of 6.420 to 9.397 g·g−1 using the composite SP 1:1. In other words, the amount of absorbed water during the analysis period varied only in the range of 2–3 g·g−1 for the composites, which can be regarded as a positive feature, since if the amount of absorbed water in the sorbent suddenly changes it generally begins to sink faster. While the amount of water absorbed by the straw was the lowest and this material was the most stable in the course of the analysis, i.e., varying in a range from 4.580 to 5.392 g·g−1, this stability also resulted from the buoyancy of the straw, which is a positive feature for using this sorbent as a component in the composites.

Figure 4 shows the average percentages of crude oil in the water absorbed by each sorbent and their composites. From this, it is obvious that we see a prevalence of hydrophilic properties in all the sorbents and their composites, because their selectivity to crude oil is less than 50%. Moss and peat are characterized by the lowest affinity to crude oil, where the average amount of the absorbed crude oil amounted to 10 and 14%, respectively, of the total mass of absorbed liquid. This can be explained as follows: moss naturally tends to accumulate water in special formations (dead cells); whereas peat has a higher density, which causes it to sink and, at the same time, increase its sorption of water.
Fig. 4

Percentages of crude oil and water absorbed by the sorbents and their composites

The wool and straw had a much higher percentage of absorbed oil, 21 and 29%, respectively. The reason for these good performances is associated with the surface roughness, porosity, the presence of grease (lanolin) and waxes on the surface of wool (Ifelebuegu and Johnson 2017). Furthermore the wool is fluffy and stays on the water surface quite well and it has better contact with oil product layer than water, which means that it could absorb more oil product before it starts to sink (Paulauskiene et al. 2014). The straw is tube-shaped, which also increases its buoyancy and has better contact with oil product.

In the composites, crude oil made up the largest part of the total mass of the absorbed liquid. This was caused by the combined features of the sorbents in the composites, such as straw which has good buoyancy (Sidiras et al. 2014) and peat which has one of the highest crude oil sorption values determined during the maximum sorption analysis. The amount of crude oil absorbed by both the composites suggests that, to keep the buoyancy of the composites 25% of straw is enough, as the crude oil in the total mass of liquid absorbed by the composite SP 1:3 amounted to 44%; while in the composite SP 1:1 the crude oil was 6% less.

Analysis of the results of sorption in the sorbents for diesel spilled on the water surface

The amount of absorbed diesel at the beginning of the analysis (30 min) and at the end of the analysis (90 min) had the lowest values when the straw was used and varied from 2.524 to 2.499 g·g−1 (Fig. 5). Conversely, the composite SP 1:3 during the analysis had the highest values of absorbed diesel, ranging from 5.375 to 6.099 g·g−1 from the beginning to the end of the analysis, respectively.
Fig. 5

Variations of the diesel amount absorbed by the sorbents and their composites over time

The analysis of these crude oil/diesel amounts absorbed by the sorbents and their composites (Figs. 3 and 5) shows that peat absorbs some of the lowest amounts of crude oil and an average amount of diesel, when compared to other sorbents and their composites. This was surprising because in earlier tests of crude oil/diesel sorption from water surfaces, this sorbent showed the best sorption properties of the tested products (i.e., after the removal of peat from the glass container, there were no traces of crude oil/diesel left on the water surface). For this reason, an additional test of the maximum peat sorption capacity using crude oil/diesel by weight and by chromatographic methods was performed.

The results showed that the peat did not relieve 42% of the crude oil from its structure during the extraction (the maximum sorption capacity determined by the weight method was 5.155 g·g−1, and by the chromatographic method 3.003 g·g−1) as well as 34% of the diesel (the maximum sorption capacity determined by the weight method was 4.880 g·g−1, and by the chromatographic 3.215 g·g−1). This means that the peat actually absorbs far greater amounts of crude oil/diesel, and this led to the use of this sorbent in the sorbent composites.

Figure 5 presents the diesel amounts absorbed by the sorbents determined by the chromatographic method, and Table 3 indicates the water amounts absorbed by sorbents. The latter results, obtained by calculating the amount of absorbed liquid and subtracting the value of the absorbed diesel amount, calculated using the chromatographic method, which leads to certain conclusions about the selectivity of the sorbents and their composites to diesel and to the water.
Table 3

Water amount absorbed by the sorbents and their composites during the sorption of diesel

Sorbent/sorbent composites

Amount of absorbed water, g·g−1

30 min

60 min

90 min

Peat

17.431 ± 0.284

17.866 ± 0.033

17.550 ± 1.106

Wool

5.983 ± 1.213

5.911 ± 0.720

6.275 ± 1.371

Moss

2.997 ± 0.147

2.444 ± 0.306

2.010 ± 0.187

Straw

12.420 ± 1.178

12.243 ± 0.171

14.800 ± 0.765

Straw-Peat (1:3)

15.000 ± 0.343

14.859 ± 0.102

14.284 ± 1.949

Straw-Peat (1:1)

10.150 ± 0.448

12.364 ± 0.023

11.234 ± 0.257

During the diesel sorption, peat had the highest values for absorbed water. This varied during the analysis in the range of 17.431 to 17.866 g·g−1. The narrow volume of this variation in the range of values during the use of this and the other sorbents and their composites shows the stability of the amount of absorbed water during the analysis. The average amount of the water absorbed by straw was 25% lower than by peat, and in wool and moss, it was three and seven times lower than by peat, respectively. While using the composites, the average amount of absorbed water ranged from 11.249 to 14.714 g·g−1. This means that the composition of the sorbents in the composites reduces the amount of water absorbed during their sorption of diesel from the water surface. In this case, one component of the composites (the peat) absorbed 17.616 g·g−1 of water on average during the test. This amount was 16% higher than when using the composite SP 1:3, and 36% higher than when using the composite SP 1:1.

Figure 6 shows the percentages of diesel and the water amounts absorbed by each sorbent and the composites of the sorbents.
Fig. 6

Percentages of diesel and water amounts absorbed by the sorbents and their composites

The distribution of diesel and water in the sorbents and their composites was very different when compared with the distribution of the crude oil during the sorption analysis. In the total amount of liquid mass absorbed by the straw and peat, the diesel amounted to 17 and 20%, respectively. This shows that these sorbents are much more selective for water than for diesel. A larger part of diesel in the liquid amount was absorbed by the composites—28 and 33%. This small percentage in the composites is not surprising given that they consist of sorbents with the lowest parts of diesel in the total absorbed liquid mass. On the other hand, the percentage of diesel absorbed by the wool was higher—as much as 43%. This can be explained by the buoyancy of wool conditioned by its sponginess, which means that it stays on the water surface for a longer period of time. Although the amount of water absorbed by this sorbent increased during the course of the analysis, it was not desirable. The largest part of the absorbed diesel was recorded in moss, at 60%, contrary to the amount recorded during the crude oil sorption when the crude oil in this sorbent formed the lowest part, at only 12%. This means that the moss is selective for diesel. This is because, despite the nature of the sorbent to collect water in its cells, the amount of water absorbed during the course of the analysis decreased rather than increased, as occurred in most of the other sorbents.

Analysis of the results of the impact of quantity of the composite of sorbents on crude oil/diesel sorption capacity

Ifelebuegu and Momoh 2015 in their articles stated that collection of the oil products is more efficient when the quantity of sorbents on the water surface is increasing. Therefore, the experiment of increasing quantity of the composite of sorbents (straw-peat, 1:3) from 1 to 4 g was done (Table 4).
Table 4

Results of the impact of quantity of the composite of sorbents on crude oil/diesel sorption capacity analysis

Quantity (g)

Time (min)

Crude oil/diesel quantity absorbed by the composite of sorbents

Crude oil

Diesel

Grams of the spread quantity (8.69 g)

% of the spread quantity

Grams of the spread quantity (8.31 g)

% of the spread quantity

1

30

2.303 ± 0.151

27

2.956 ± 0.162

36

60

3.364 ± 0.098

39

4.228 ± 0.134

51

90

2.583 ± 0.262

30

3.325 ± 0.067

40

2

30

5.185 ± 0.172

60

7.449 ± 0.079

90

60

6.056 ± 0.192

70

7.416 ± 0.235

89

90

5.333 ± 0.263

61

6.847 ± 0.152

82

3

30

5.046 ± 0.275

58

5.375 ± 0.156

65

60

5.397 ± 0.158

62

5.717 ± 0.012

69

90

5.260 ± 0.239

61

6.099 ± 0.489

73

4

30

5.490 ± 0.423

63

5.233 ± 0.268

63

60

5.884 ± 0.268

68

5.638 ± 0.324

68

90

4.713 ± 0.223

54

5.449 ± 0.169

66

Taking into account that the mixture of straw-peat sorbents (1:3) absorbs the greatest amounts of oil (62% of the amount spilled) and diesel (73%) from water compared to single sorbents (1:1). The sorption capacity of this sorbent mixture was studied by varying its amount. The best results were obtained by a 2-g sorbent mixture. At the starting moment, the mixture absorbed even 90% of the spilled diesel and from 60 to 90 min, the amount of the absorbed product decreased by 8%. The amount of the crude oil absorbed by the sorbent mixture at the initial time was 60% of the amount of oil spilled on the surface of water. At the 60 min point, the sorption increased by 14%, and since then, the desorption of the product was observed as the absorbed amount decreased by 12%.

Sorption capacity increased due to increased active surface of the sorbent. Sorption capacity remained steady when the quantity of sorbents was raised higher than 2 g, as described in Nwokoma and Anene 2010 researches. The highest efficiency of sorption capacity from the water surface is reached while using the composite of sorbents with 2 g. It is recommended to use at least 330 g of straw and peat composite (1:3) per 1 m2 of water surface with the crude oil/diesel film (1 mm).

Results of the analysis of the unrealized part of the crude oil/diesel in the sorbents during extraction

When analyzing the amounts of oil/diesel absorbed by the sorbents and their mixtures from the surface of water, it was observed that after removal of the sorbents from the test vessel, practically, there were no traces of the product left on the surface of water. Meanwhile, the results of the gas chromatographic study in accordance with the ISO 16703:2004 standard method showed that up to 77% of the product remained in water (Paulauskiene et al. 2014). In this way, we have hypothesized that using the standard methodology the sorbent does not liberate some part of the absorbed product. To prove this, we performed a study of the unrealized part of the product absorbed during the oil/diesel extraction. The maximum sorbent sorption capacity was measured using crude oil/diesel and applying weight and gas chromatography methods.

By comparing the results of the maximum sorption power obtained using different study methods, we observe that they differ, which means that the sorbent retains part of the product absorbed during extraction. From the data in Table 5, we can see that 15–35% of the absorbed diesel and 23–58% of the oil is not removed from the sorbents during extraction. Sorbents desorb diesel better than oil, because higher viscosity oil is better absorbed and adheres to the surface of the sorbent. During the sorption process, adhesion and autohesion take place. When viscosity of oil or its product is lower, the properties of adhesion and autohesion are weaker; therefore, diesel is easier liberated from sorbents and is desorbed faster than oil (Hussein et al. 2011; Ifelebuegu and Momoh 2015).
Table 5

Analysis results of the maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents and the unrealised part of the crude oil/diesel in the sorbents during extraction

Sorbent

Product

The maximum sorption capacity of the sorbents, g·g−1

Unreleased part of the product, %

Weight method

Chromatography method

Peat

Crude oil

5.155 ± 0.320

3.003 ± 0.128

42

Diesel

4.880 ± 0.264

3.215 ± 0.399

34

Wool

Crude oil

11.473 ± 0.248

8.649 ± 0.411

25

Diesel

6.129 ± 0.182

4.632 ± 0.420

24

Moss

Crude oil

8.519 ± 0.469

4.300 ± 0.392

50

Diesel

5.015 ± 0.249

3.309 ± 0.129

34

Straw

Crude oil

3.192 ± 0.307

1.493 ± 0.130

53

Diesel

2.731 ± 0.038

2.321 ± 0.106

15

Straw-peat (1:3)

Crude oil

4.991 ± 0.165

2.459 ± 0.474

51

Diesel

4.509 ± 0.321

3.256 ± 0.130

28

Diesel is released best by straw (15% of product remains) and wool (24% of product remains) during the extraction. It can be stated that the bonding between diesel and straw is not strong enough and the product is easily released from the surface and tube of the straw. The product’s sorbency into the internal structure of straw is low because of the small pores size and low density of the porosity (Sidiras et al. 2014). Lower level of release of diesel (up to 35%) is observed while using sorbent composite straw-peat (1:3), peat and moss.

Crude oil is released best by wool during the extraction—25% of product remains in the sorbent. The wool consists of thin threads, which leads to the easier product extraction from the sorbent. At the same time, 42% of the product remains in the peat, while straw, moss and sorbent composite straw-peat (1:3) unreleased up to 50%. Due to the dense and highly porous structure of the peat, product is released harder.

Table 6 presents the initial and recalculated results of crude oil/diesel oil spillage amount in sorbents and their mixtures, after estimating the unliberated part of product absorbed during the sorbent extraction.
Table 6

Results of recalculation of oil/diesel oil spillage amount in sorbents and their mixtures

Sorbent/sorbents composite

Time, min

Crude oil amounts absorbed by the sorbents

Diesel amounts absorbed by the sorbents

Initial results

Recalculate results

Initial results

Recalculate results

Grams of the spread quantity (8.69 g)

% of the spread quantity

Grams of the spread quantity (8.69 g)

% of the spread quantity

Grams of the spread quantity (8.31 g)

% of the spread quantity

Grams of the spread quantity (8.31 g)

% of the spread quantity

Peat

30

1.945 ± 0.095

22

2.762

32

3.999 ± 0.354

48

5.359

65

60

1.987 ± 0.134

23

2.821

33

4.564 ± 0.389

55

6.116

74

90

1.932 ± 0.017

22

2.743

32

4.563 ± 0.275

55

6.114

74

Wool

30

1.832 ± 0.039

21

2.290

26

4.221 ± 0.741

51

5.234

63

60

2.075 ± 0.543

24

2.594

30

4.656 ± 0.688

56

5.773

70

90

3.064 ± 0.245

35

3.830

44

4.860 ± 0.644

58

6.026

73

Moss

30

1.787 ± 0.163

21

2.681

31

4.403 ± 0.113

53

5.900

71

60

1.922 ± 0.173

22

2.883

33

4.654 ± 0.107

56

6.236

75

90

1.736 ± 0.197

20

2.604

30

5.381 ± 0.132

65

7.211

87

Straw

30

2086 ± 0,060

24

3192

37

2524 ± 0,688

30

2903

35

60

1879 ± 0,057

21

2875

33

2925 ± 0,041

35

3361

41

90

2375 ± 0,035

27

3634

42

2499 ± 0,369

30

2874

35

Straw-peat (1:3)

30

5.046 ± 0.275

58

7.619

88

5.375 ± 0.156

65

6.459

78

60

5.397 ± 0.158

62

8.150

94

5.717 ± 0.012

69

6.908

83

90

5.260 ± 0.239

61

7.943

91

6.099 ± 0.781

73

7.807

93

In summary, the results of these analyses suggest that the composition of sorbents in composites strengthens their hydrophobic and oleophilic properties. As a result, more effective clean-ups of diesel and oil from water surfaces can be achieved by using sorbent composites. The evaluation of the results of all the research showed that, for clean-ups of spilled crude oil and diesel fuel from lagoon water surfaces, it is recommended to use a straw-peat composite (1:3).

Conclusions

  1. 1.

    It was investigated that all the sorbents and their composites have their selectivity to crude oil less than 50%. The distribution of diesel and water in the sorbents and their composites is very different compared with the distribution of crude oil during the sorption analyses. In total, the diesel in the liquid mass absorbed by the straw and the peat amounted to 17 and 20%, respectively. This shows that these sorbents are much more selective for water but not for diesel, which is lighter than water. A larger part of the diesel was in the liquid amount absorbed by the composites—28% (straw-peat 1:3) and 33% (straw-peat 1:1).

     
  2. 2.

    It was determined that during analysis of adsorption of the crude oil using standard method of chromatography according to ISO 16703:2004, it is necessary to evaluate the unrealized part of the product in the sorbents, as analysis results can differ from the results of weight method analysis (standard ASTM F-726-99) on the average by 43% for crude oil and 27% for diesel sorption.

     
  3. 3.

    It was determined that the most efficient single sorbent for crude oil collection from the water surface is wool with the efficiency of 44%, while for the diesel—moss (87%). The composite of straw and peat (1:3) has higher efficiency in the same conditions and is capable to collect up to 94% of crude oil and 93% of diesel.

     
  4. 4.

    The highest efficiency is reached while using the composite of sorbents with 2 g. It is recommended to use at least 330 g of straw and peat composite (1:3) per 1 m2 of water surface with the crude oil/diesel film (1 mm).

     

Notes

Funding information

This work is supported by Lithuanian National Science project “Technological and environmental research development in Lithuanian marine sector”, grant no. VP1-3.1-ŠMM-08-K-01-019.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klaipeda University Faculty of Marine Technology and Natural SciencesKlaipedaLithuania

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