This year's World Shale Oil & Gas Summit witnessed one researcher being declared the best technology innovator of 2012 following his designing and manufacturing the most environmentally-friendly sponge the world has seen so far.
Thus, the “Smart Sponge” Glenn Rink came up with can be used to clean up contaminated water sources, seeing how it is quite successful in absorbing oil, and equally efficient in repelling water.
informs us that this particular sponge is most likely to first and foremost be used by the fracking industry, as this technological process is known to cause significant amounts of water to become contaminated with harmful chemical compounds, petroleum, metals, and other types of potentially dangerous substances.
Apparently, although scientists have long been trying to figure out how to clean up fracking water, the solutions they have so far managed to bring forth are anything but fully capable to contain and fight back pollution.
More precisely, the various technologies now available on the market do clean the water to a certain extent, yet not enough to make it possible for workers to release it into the environment or use it once more in the process of fracking.
However, it seems that said sponge can absorb an amount of oil equal to three times its weight, and that once it does this it makes sure the oil does not get released back into the environment, meaning that the hydrocarbon molecules are made to bound with the sponge and therefore find themselves trapped.
According to the same source, the fact that the “Smart Sponge” behaves in such a way when coming face to face with oil could also allow researchers to rely on it as a fuel source at one point in the future.
As one can easily imagine, this could yield significant benefits as the amounts of oil that are presently wasted could be collected and put to better use.