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  1. 1. International Journal For Research & Development in Technology Volume: 2, Issue: 6, Dec -2014 ISSN (Online):- 2349-3585 26 Copyright 2014- IJRDT www.ijrdt.org OIL CLEANUP USING COCONUT HUSK AND CORN COBS AS ABSORBENTS ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ O.A.Omoniyi1 , E.O. Henry2 1 Lecturer, 1 Department of Petroleum Engineering Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Bauchi State, Nigeria, ABSTRACT:-An oil spill is the deliberate or accidental release of hydrocarbon oil into water bodies (rivers, oceans, streams, creeks, etc.) or land. Oil spills may occur due to release of crude oil on land, offshore platforms, drilling rigs, wells, tankers and spills of refined petroleum products. This research work is aimed at comparing the absorption capability of coconut husk, grounded and ungrounded corn cob and also to discover which of the absorbents is best at removing oil from water. The experiment was carried out by oven-drying the absorbents to completely remove moisture, the oil and water were poured into the conical flask to a predetermined level. The absorbents were then immersed into the mixture and brought out after some time. The final oil level, final water level and final water-oil level were then recorded. The results obtained indicated that surface area is a factor in absorption. The larger the surface area of a material the more fluid it will absorb. The result obtained also indicated that coconut husk is the best oil absorber among three absorbents tested as it absorbed more oil. This is because coconut husk is fibrous in nature. The result also shows that the absorbents absorbed only a little quantity of water as expected. Since coconut husk worked well in absorbing the engine oil from the oil-water mixture, it can be used for absorbing crude oil. Coconut husk is therefore recommendable for use as an absorbent in a device for the cleanup of office oil spill. Keywords:- Oil spills, Hydrocarbon, Absorbent, Coconut husk, Crude oil INTRODUCTION An oil spill is a form of pollution and is caused by human activities. The term is usually used for marine oil spills, where oil is let out or released into the ocean and other water bodies. Oil spills may occur due to releases of crude oil from offshore platforms, drilling rigs, wells, tankers, pipelines and spills of refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and their by-products, heavier fuels such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any waste oil. Many natural ecosystems in many places have been damaged by crude oil and refined fuel spills from tanker ship accidents. Some of the places where these accidents have occurred include GalapagosIslands, the Gulf of Mexico, France and Alaska. A few hundred tons to several hundred thousand tons quantity of crude oil are released during accidents. Examples are Atlantic Empress, Amoco Cardiz and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Smaller spills such as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill have also proven to have significant impact on ecosystems due to the remoteness of the site or the difficulty of an emergency environmental response. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/oil-spill) 20 . On April 20, 2010 the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men and releasing as much as five million barrels of crude oil into the sea. It is believed that as much as fifty-three thousand barrels of oil a day flowed from the broken well until British Petroleum was able to stem the release on July 15, 2010. It was the biggest offshore spill in US history. One of the more disturbing aspects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was the cleanup. (Katherine, 2012)8 . The most frequently used methods to clean up ocean oil spills are Booms, Skimmers and Chemical Dispersants(See figs..1,2, and 3) Each method has its own merits and demerits. Weather, tides and ocean currents are factors that determine the effectiveness of any cleaning method (http://ask.yahoo.com/20021218.html)21 . Sponge-like materials called absorbents can absorb oil and can also be used for oil cleanup. Yearly, billions of dollars are spent by operating companies and governments on oil spill cleanup. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM People who reside in areas that are prone to oil spills are usually stranded, helpless and at the mercy of the operating companies and the government when oil spill occurs. These operating companies are usually not prompt in bringing conventional cleanup equipment such as booms and skimmers to the affected sites and this is due to the fact that most of the operating companies do not have these cleanup devices because of their cost. Most operating companies resort to hiring the devices at an expensive rate. The delay usually contributes to the destruction of ecosystem and wide spread of the spilled oil, thereby making cleanup more difficult and expensive. This research work is geared towards testing and suggesting local, unsophisticated cheap materials that can be used as absorbents in a device by the operating companies to cleanup oil spills.
  2. 2. International Journal For Research & Development in Technology Paper Title:- (Vol.2, Issue-6)OIL CLEANUP USING COCONUT HUSK AND CORN COBS AS ABSORBENTS ISSN(O):- 2349-3585 27 Copyright 2014- IJRDT www.ijrdt.org OBJECTIVES To compare the absorption capability of coconut husk, grounded and ungrounded corn cob. To discover if the absorbents can be used for oil spill cleanup. To discover which absorbent is best at removing oil from water. To determine the volume of remaining water and oil left after removing each absorbent from the mixture. To recommend an alternative means of oil clean up to the oil and gas industry. SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS PROJECT This research would recommend to the oil industry more absorbents that could be used for offshore oil cleanup thereby helping the industry reduce cost in oil spill cleanup. The research will also help people who reside in areas that are prone to offshore oil spill to start cleanup in the absence of conventional cleanup equipment such as booms and skimmers when an oil spill occurs and also help reduce the work of the petroleum engineer in cleaning up oil spills. LIMITATIONS Engine oil was used to conduct the experiment due to inaccessibility to crude oil. METHODOLOGY MATERIALS USED: Engine oil, water, coconut husk, corn cobs, conical flask, stopwatch, mortar and pestle, and electric oven. PREPARATION OF THE SORBENTS Coconut Husk (Coir)(See fig. 4) Coir has a natural pH of about 6; liming materials increase the pH above ideal levels for most plants. ‘Buffered’ coco coir, the type sold in most garden centres, serves best as a growing medium, as the chemical buffering process helps balance the substance’s calcium and magnesium content. Similarly, the addition of gypsum helps the medium overcome its low calcium and sulphur content (Daniel Thomas)2 . Coir fibres are found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. The individual fibre cells are narrow and hollow, with thick walls made of cellulose. They are pale when immature, but later become hardened and yellowed as a layer of lignin is deposited on their walls. Each cell is about 1mm (0.04in) long and 10 to 20μm (0.0004 to 0.0008in) in diameter. Fibres are typically 10 to 30 centimetres (4 to 12in) long. The two varieties of coir are brown and white. Brown coir harvested from fully ripened coconuts is thick, strong and has high abrasion resistance. It is typically used in mats, brushes and sacking. Mature brown coir fibres contain more lignin and less cellulose than fibres such as flax and cotton, so are stronger but less flexible. White coir fibres harvested from coconuts before they are ripe are white or light brown in colour and are smoother and finer, but also weaker. They are generally spun to make yarn. Coir can be used as a terrarium substrate for reptiles or arachnids. Corn Cob(See fig. 5) A corn cob is the central core of a maize (zea mays ssp. Mays L.) ear. It is the part of the ear on which the kernels grow. The corn plant’s ear is also considered a ‘cob’ or ‘pole’ but it is not fully a ‘pole’ until the ear is shucked, or removed from the plant material around the ear. Young ears, also called baby corn, can be consumed raw, but as the plant matures the cob becomes tougher until only the kernels are edible. When harvesting corn, the corn cob may be collected as part of the ear or may be left as part of the corn stover in the field. The innermost part of the cob is white and has a consistency similar to foam plastic. USES OF CORN COB Corn cob finds use in the following applications: Industrial source of the chemical furfural. Fiber in fodder for ruminant livestock (despite low nutritional value). Water in which corn cobs have been boiled contains thickeners and can be added to soup stock or made into traditional sweetened corncob jelly. Livestock bedding – cobs absorb moisture and provide a compliant surface. A mild abrasive for cleaning building surfaces, when coarsely ground. Raw material for bowls of corncob pipes. Fuel – corncobs may be burned to provide heat. Charcoal production. Corncobs are also commonly used as bedding for rodents used as subjects in research experiments, usually supplemented with other types of bedding like cotton fibre intended to reduce respiratory problems blamed in turn on all – corncob bedding and bacterial growth (Source: Wikipedia)27. The absorbents were broken into smaller sizes and oven-dried to completely remove moisture(See fig..6 and 7) Weighing of the Absorbents Each sorbent was divided into three equal piles so as to carry out three trials for each of them. Introduction of the Oil and Water 150ml of water was first introduced into the conical flask and then 50ml of oil was gently poured into it for each trial. Introduction of Absorbent For each trial, a pile of absorbent was introduced into the water-oil mixture and allowed to completely submerge. The absorbent was removed from the mixture after two mixtures. It was held just above the surface of the water-oil mixture for 30 more seconds to drain. Reading and Recording of the total Water and Oil Level The final water level, final oil level and the water-oil level was read and recorded.
  3. 3. International Journal For Research & Development in Technology Paper Title:- (Vol.2, Issue-6)OIL CLEANUP USING COCONUT HUSK AND CORN COBS AS ABSORBENTS ISSN(O):- 2349-3585 28 Copyright 2014- IJRDT www.ijrdt.org Averaging of results obtained for each absorbent The average of the values obtained for the three trials for each absorbent was calculated and recorded.Calculation of the ratio of water to oil for each absorbent The ratio of the remaining water to the remaining oil for each absorbent was calculated See table 1). DISCUSSION OF RESULT From the results obtained, it has been established that surface area is a factor in absorption. The larger the surface area of a material, the more fluid it will absorb. This fact is the basis for which the grounded corn cob absorbed more oil than the ungrounded one. It has also been established that the roughness of the surface of a substance aids its absorption capability. The rougher the surface of a material, the fluid it will absorb. This fact was observed during the experiment as the rough surface of the corn cob aided the absorption of oil. The result obtained also indicates that coconut husk is the best oil absorber among the three absorbents tested as it absorbed more oil than the other. The coconut husk absorbed virtually all the oil floating on oil than the other. The coconut husk absorbed virtually all the oil floating on the water. It also had the largest ratio of remaining water to remaining oil. The result also shows that the absorbents absorbed a little quantity of water as expected. CONCLUSION In this research work, the absorption capability of oil of coconut husk, grounded corn cob and ungrounded corn cob has been compared. It has been discovered that coconut husk is best at removing oil from water. These absorbents can be used for the cleanup of oil in a water-oil mixture it has also been discovered that more volume of oil is absorbed than water using any of the absorbents. The coconut husk has the highest ratio of remaining water to remaining oil. Coconut husk is more or less free of charge, readily available. RECOMMENDATION Since coconut husk worked well for the cleanup of engine oil, it is also expected to work well with crude oil therefore, coconut husk should be used as an absorbent in a device as an alternative means for the cleanup of offshore oil spill in the oil and gas industry as this will reduce the cost of oil spill cleanup Fig 1: Oil Spill Containment Boom Shown Holding Back Oil Fig 2:A boat used to out-skim oil Fig 3: A Special Skimmer with Groove Technology Fig 4: Coconut Husk Fig 5: Ungrounded Corn Cob
  4. 4. International Journal For Research & Development in Technology Paper Title:- (Vol.2, Issue-6)OIL CLEANUP USING COCONUT HUSK AND CORN COBS AS ABSORBENTS ISSN(O):- 2349-3585 29 Copyright 2014- IJRDT www.ijrdt.org 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Grounded Corn Cob Ungrounded Corn Cob Cocoanut Husk FINALOILLEVEL(ml) ABSORBENTS Grounded Corn Cob Ungrounded Corn Cob Cocoanut HuskFig 6: Grounded Corn Cob Fig 7: Oven-drying of the coconut husk RESULTS Initial water level- 150ml Initial oil level- 50ml Table 1: Results Obtained S/N Final Water Level (ml) FinalO il Level (ml) Oil + Water (ml) Ratio of Water to Oil 1 . Grounded Corn Cob 14 8 26 175 5. 7 2 . Unground ed Corn Cob 14 9 44 194 3. 4 3 . Coconut Husk 14 8 0. 4 148 . 4 37 0 REFERENCES 1. Cochraw, R.A., Computer Simulation of Offshore Oil Spill Cleanup Operations, 1975. 2. Daniel Thomas,Coconut Husk as a Growing Medium. 3. Dorrler J. Stephen, Use of Sorbents for Oil Spill Cleanup, S P E Conference 1972. 4. EkehAdegbotolu U.V., Ekeh O.M., et al, Cleanup of Crude Oil Polluted Sites Using ArachisHypogaea L. (Groundnut) and Biostimulants, S P E Conference, 2012. 5. E. Olayinka David, Environmental Remediation of Oil Spillage in Niger Delta Region, S P E Conference, 2003. 6. Hadfield D.A.,Hydroclones in Large Scale Marine Oil Spill Cleanup, S P E Conference, 1991. 7. Harold Bernard, Effectiveness of Devices for the Control and Cleanup of Oil Spills, S P E Conference, 1972. 8. Katherine Butler, Six of the Latest Advances in Oil Cleanup, 2012. 9. Lerh, W.E, Containment and Recovery Devices for Oil Spill Cleanup Operations, S P E Oil Spill,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil spill 10. McMillen, S.J., et al, Developing Risk Based Cleanup Standards for Soils in Nigeria, S P E Conference, 2001. 11. Rochford D.B., Oily Water Cleanup Using Gas Floatation, S P E Conference,1999. 12. Samuel O. Salafu Et al, Prediction of Rate and Volume of Oil Spill in Horizontal and Inclined Pipelines, S P E Conference, 2013. 13. ShripadSuhasBiniwale, GIS, Effective Support for Oil Spill Contingency Planning, S P E Conference, 2003. 14. Sharda,Ten Methods for Oil Spill Cleanup at Sea, 2011. 15. S. H. Kip, Oil Spill Contingency Planning, S P E Conference, 1988.
  5. 5. International Journal For Research & Development in Technology Paper Title:- (Vol.2, Issue-6)OIL CLEANUP USING COCONUT HUSK AND CORN COBS AS ABSORBENTS ISSN(O):- 2349-3585 30 Copyright 2014- IJRDT www.ijrdt.org 16. S. Libovich, Hydrodynamic Problems in Oil Spill Control and Removal, S P E Conference, 1977. 17. United Nations News Centre, Environmental Restoration of Nigeria’s Ogoniland, 2013.Conference, 1974. 18. Wentz, C.A., Shiver, C.M., Cleanup of Oil Field Wastes in Environmentally Acceptable Manner, S P E Conference, 1983. 19. Zekri, et al, Cleanup of Offshore Emulsion Spill, an Experimental Approach, S P E Conference, 2008. 20. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/oil-spill). 21.(http://ask.yahoo.com/20021218.html). 22.(http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/02/us-science- oilspill-idUSBRE8A10NP 20121102). 23.(Source:http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmen tal/green-science/cleaning oilspill.htm). 24.(Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=392 32&Cr=pollutio...) 25.(Source:http://www.hometrainingtools.com/oil-spill- cleanup-experiments/a/1697/). 26.(Source: http://www.appea.com.au/edusite/html/pt/oceans.htm l). 27. (Source: Wikipedia, 2007).

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