Could new nanomaterial innovation assist land remediation efforts?

It has been revealed that scientists from China have managed to develop a hydrophobic nanosponge that is believed to be able to efficiently take diesel fuel out of water and soil that has been contaminated.

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It is no secret that diesel fuel leakages can have a devastating environmental impact and can lead to very serious soil and water pollution with long-term, far-reaching effects. This, of course, is of great concern to those working in the environmental field.

Diesel complications

Diesel is difficult to deal with once it has leaked, as it contains what are known as aromatic hydrocarbons. These are very difficult to degrade, potentially causing long-term environmental impact. Without effective water and soil remediation services, they can seriously and adversely affect the growth of aquatic crops and organisms.

Whilst there have been great steps taken in remediation services offered by companies such as, there has been long-standing concern about how best to remediate areas in which diesel fuel contamination has occurred.

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Problems with diesel contamination remediation

The main problem is that it is currently very hard to prepare absorbents to be used on diesel fuel. These absorbents are also very hard to apply on larger scales; therefore, there is a need to come up with highly-efficient fuel absorbents that can be used with diesel and are simple and easy to use.

This is the reason researchers working under the banner of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science have fabricated what is being heralded as an environmentally-friendly diesel fuel absorbent.

The Chinese-developed modified hydrophobic nanosponge is said to be able to effectively control the migration of diesel fuel and have the capability to remove it from both soil and water.

It is thought that the nanosponge could potentially decrease the known negative effects of contamination by diesel fuel, which affect the likes of plant growth and the growth of fish and earthworms. It might also have the potential to help realise the ambition of recycling diesel fuel.

A welcome development

Experts are welcoming the news from China, which was published in the Science of the Total Environment journal. Many of these experts claim that the nanosponge offers a very promising approach when it comes to the remediation of diesel fuel contamination.

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