15 May 2013 — An application to purify water through the rapid removal of oily pollutants, could have major environmental benefits in agriculture and manufacturing industries.

Developed at the University of South Australia’s School of Engineering, in collaboration with the Mawson Institute, it involves the use of surface engineered silica particles, which act as oil magnets in water, adsorbing oil, yet repelling water.

The technology can remove motor oil, crude oil, petrol or kerosene from water in just a few minutes.

School of Engineering head Peter Majewski, who lead the research, said the technology could revolutionise the treatment of oil spills at sea and in water reservoirs, and rivers.

“By applying plasma polymerisation technology to develop surface engineered silica particles for oil removal, these adsorbents can remove more than 99.9 per cent of the oil from both fresh and sea waters.”

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