The ship traffic in the Baltic Sea is increasing. And as the number of ships increases, the risk of accidents and environmental disasters also grows. Particularly dangerous are oil and petroleum derivative spills. In cooperation with partners from abroad, the Maritime University of Szczecin has developed a special system for eliminating contamination with the use of absorbents.
Petroleum leaks are nothing new. The methods of coping with them have been improving for years now. The most popular of them is building oil barriers and pumping harmful substances into special containers. Unfortunately, such barriers cannot be unrolled when the wind force is more than 4-5 degrees on the Beaufort scale, and maritime disasters usually happen during violent storms.
A team led by Prof. Lucjan Gucma, Ph.D. Eng. from the Maritime University of Szczecin, has developed an innovative method of combating oil spilled at sea, i.e. SB Oil. When developing the method, the team from Poland cooperated with the University of Rostock and the World Maritime University in Malmö.
The innovation of the method consists in dropping absorbents down on contaminated areas from a plane or a ship. Absorbents are small biodegradable plates made of wood fibres, which absorb oil and repel water at the same time. Next, the plates saturated with oil are gathered with the use of barriers from the water surface and with special vacuum cleaners from the beach.
One cubic metre of the cellulose material developed under the SB-Oil project can clean up 600 kg oil.
"We call it the last chance method. If the weather is bad and an oil spill is heading towards the shore or the beach, we are able to provide very strong protection to the environment against severe consequences of contamination," said Prof. Lucjan Gucma.
To the rescue of the Baltic Sea
Interreg South Baltic
European Regional Development Fund
EUR 1.2 million
approx. EUR 1 million from the European Regional Development Fund